SUFFOLK SPORTS AWARDS: Ipswich Girls’ under-16s are history-makers

Suffolk Sport awards 15/11/13 151113001 at trinty Park, Ipswich. Ipswich Hockey under-16s

Suffolk Sport awards 15/11/13 151113001 at trinty Park, Ipswich. Ipswich Hockey under-16s - Credit: Photo: Keith Mindham Photography

Coach Ian Driver believes continuity is the key to Ipswich Hockey Club’s girls’ Under-16s success.

The Harrod UK Ltd Junior Team of the Year completed a hugely successful 2012-13 campaign in April, playing in both the national indoor and outdoor finals, having been crowned both East Region Indoor and Outdoor champions and winning the Brentwood indoor tournament.

Undefeated, the girls finished third in their group in the outdoor event and in the top-four in the country for their age at the indoor competition.

Their results are unmatched by any other junior team in the history of Ipswich Hockey Club.

“It was a fantastic year for the team and a brilliant outcome getting through to both the national outdoor and indoor finals, fully deserved,” said Driver. “It was a good squad effort and every player played a part. It proved to be great fun not only for the girls, but also for their parents and myself.

“Eight of the under-16s came from the Ipswich Hockey Academy which was set up by myself and James Kingstone four years ago, and have played together through their age groups and for the adult team in the Summer League.

“I will be coaching them again at under-18s level and continuity is huge. You only have to look at the successful Manchester United academy over the years to see that.

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“It is vital for success. The players get on well and know each others’ games and the team’s game plan.”

He added: “The club has had huge success in the last five years and 10 girls have played for England at various age group levels, including two girls who were part of the recent England trials.

“Their success can act as an inspiration year-on-year and for our thriving junior section.”