England Under-18s call up for former Leek Hockey Club member

He went through a series of trials before achieving selection

A student who attends an East Staffordshire school has been called up to the England Under-18 hockey squad.

Former Leek Hockey Club member Hugh Phillips-Bland, who attends Abbotsholme School, is one of three goalkeepers chosen for the 2022 squad.

He had been invited to undergo a two-day trial at Loughborough University in September having featured for the men’s first team at Chesterfield Hockey Club.

A six-month process saw 70 hopefuls whittled down to just 26 after training camps at Lilleshall, Bisham Abbey and Nottingham University.

Hugh will now push for selection ahead of fixtures against other European nations in February and July.


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Thanks given to hockey influences

Describing his achievement as “marvellous”, a spokesperson for Abbotsholme School said Hugh recognised the impact of certain individuals.

They said: “In addition to all the coaching and support Hugh has been given here at Abbotsholme – particularly from Kevin Heath, Hockey Coach and Miss Harrison, Director of Sport at Abbotsholme.

“Hugh also remembers those individuals who have helped him along the way.

“Namely, Mrs Batigan from St. Edwards School, who first introduced Hugh to hockey and goalkeeping, Bev Cartlidge from Leek Hockey Club, who coached him between the ages of 13-15 and finally, John Marshall, hockey coach who has also supported him throughout the journey.

“We wish him the very best of luck. We know that he will draw upon Abbotsholme’s school values and that his talent, courage and resilience will stand him good stead and we look forward to updating you on his progress.”

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