Marlborough Hockey Club’s juniors turn out for their Sunday training sessions – by the score and, quite obviously, whatever the weather. This Sunday (September 23) was special – it was the Club’s Open Day and they were welcoming a very VIP visitor.
Laura Unsworth was coming to give them tips from the top and loots of encouragement. She is an England and Team GB international who won gold at the Rio Olympics and Bronze at the London Olympics.
She has represented England at three Commonwealth Games (a silver and two bronze medals) and at five European Championships (a gold, a silver and three bronze medals).
It was, however, raining – often during the session raining quite hard. And it was chilly – cold enough for some young gloves.
Despite the rain, it was a colourful morning – the selection of brightly coloured and sometimes waterproof clothing only matched by the selection of coloured gum-shields and hockey sticks. Wherever you looked on the astro pitches there were groups being taught the skills and wiles and ways of hockey.
In fact the weather seemed to concern the assembled adults rather more than the 150 or so junior players who came to get lots of good training and did not seem to mind getting wet.
Marlborough Hockey Club has 300 registered juniors – divided into age groups. They are organised by Sarah Kendall and coached by a group of dedicated volunteers – they are the Club’s investment for the future.
Laura Unsworth toured the groups chatting to young players. She posed with the massed ranks of young enthusiasts, signed autographs and was then heading inside for a question-and-answer session.
The Club’s older players were next onto the College all-weather (note that word!) pitches. And their luck was in – the rain stopped and the sun made an appearance.
So the juniors had the worst of the weather – though they did have Club-branded iced buns as a reward for sticking at it through the rain. As the training session ended, one father had the right answer as he collected a very young junior player: “When we’re home, you’re going into a hot bath.”
Great idea! And a great idea to have such a major role model of a player to talk to the young players.