Olympians inspire North of England Hockey Duo

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Tough tackling King’s hockey defenders Natalie Stevens and Abigail Cook have formed an iron wall for the North of England as young players are inspired by Great Britain’s Olympic heroes.

The 16-year-old duo who both live in Macclesfield and play for Alderley Edge Ladies First Team have come through the elite development squads to Northern regional level and featured in the recent Futures Cup and HiPac tournaments as one of four English regions, and also played against squads from Scotland and Wales.

Agile and committed goal-keeper Natalie (right), who wants to study Engineering at university, has been promoted above her age level, playing both at under-17 and under-18 level and has her sights set on following Maddie Hinch into the national squad.

She said: “The success of our Olympic team has given the sport a real boost with numbers turning up for practice doubling over the close season. The Olympians have shown everyone just what can be achieved.”

Abi, a lightning quick half back, who wants to study Psychology at university, and uses her pace both in defence and attack, said: “Much of this success is due to the partnership between club and school. Our coach at King’s Sarah Hopkin also coaches for Alderley Edge so we really do get the very best of both worlds.”

King’s Hockey coach and club team mate Sarah Hopkin said: “Natalie and Abi have shown great dedication and determination to get to this level and will have to show more of the same if they are to pursue what is becoming an increasingly competitive elite development system.”