HOCKEY: School mates at School Games

Simon Allan and Oscar Kay at the School Games
Simon Allan and Oscar Kay at the School Games

England Hockey selection for Oscar Kay and Simon Allan

Rugby residents Oscar Kay and Simon Allan have just returned from representing England Hockey at SchoolGames 2017. The four day multi-sport annual event was hosted by Loughborough University who worked alongside the Youth Sport Trust to create an inspirational and motivational setting which helps accustom the country’s most promising young athletes to a high quality, high pressure environment. School Games is supported by Sport England and is National Lottery Funded.

“Attending School Games last week was a fantastic experience. We played matches every day against some of the best U18 teams from England, Scotland and Ulster,” they said.

Simon and Oscar, both now aged 17, first met as classmates at Clifton-upon-Dunsmore CofE primary school. They started playing hockey together with the junior section at Rugby & East Warwickshire Hockey Club when only five years old.

The junior section was set up by Simon’s father Richard Allan and fellow 2014 Rugby Advertiser Coach of the Year winners Julia Bower to grow the club and provide the town’s youngsters with an opportunity to play the sport. They went into local schools and placed posters and leaflets to invite young players to come along to a training session to try the game.

Oscar’s father told us: “He came home from school one day and said ‘Dad, can I go to hockey training tonight?” Although neither of us were hockey players, we took him along and he loved it!”

From that first Friday night training session some 12 years ago, where 34 kids including Simon and Oscar came along, the club’s junior section now has over 300 members, with most regularly training at Rugby school on Friday nights from September to Easter.

Both boys competed for the club in junior tournaments right through from Under 9s onwards, and played together at the U14 boys National Championship Finals.

Now in Upper Sixth, Oscar at Princethorpe College and Simon at Lawrence Sherriff School respectively, the boys have gone on to play for the R&EWHC Men’s 1st XI and both subsequently represented Mercia Lynx at England Hockey Futures Cup, with Oscar progressing from there to the England U16s squad in 2015.

# Friday night training for Rugby & East Warwickshire HC juniors starts at 6pm at Rugby School.