At the August 2017 School Games I joined an England squad of school players. England put out three teams, and I was chosen to be an England blue. Over four days I played four hockey matches and took part in video analysis sessions, as well as learning yoga techniques to improve my overall fitness. To play at this level was a dream come true for me and it is hard to describe how exciting it was. It went by in a kind of blur! It inspired me to play, one day, for the full England team.
England Blue’s first game was against Ulster and we won 1-0. Our second game was against Scotland and we won 5-0. My third game was against the England Reds, which was our toughest game, and we lost 3-2. Even though we lost, it was still good, because we learnt something in our defeat. We bounced back and in our final game against England White we won 5-0. Overall, our results meant that we had won gold because of our impressive goal difference.
Whilst I was at the school games I was also interviewed for ITV news and had a training session with Alex Danson, GB hockey star. There was also an opening ceremony on the first evening and a medal ceremony at the end of the tournament. Overall it was really enjoyable and I cannot wait to link up with England again. There was such a professional atmosphere throughout the tournament and I played the most competitive hockey of my life. I am so grateful for the PE teaching staff at Stamford High School, without their training and support over the years I would never have got this far.
Sophie Skelton, September 2017