Successful Hockey Partnership Between ABS & Sefton Hockey

Just before the move to the new school site in September, the school and Liverpool Sefton Hockey Club agreed to a partnership aimed at encouraging the playing of hockey at Archbishop Blanch and progression to Liverpool Sefton Hockey Club (although given the school’s history of producing so many top class players this was hardly needed!)

The partnership was formally inaugurated in September at a ceremony to open the new astro pitch attended by the Headteacher and the great and the good of hockey. Guest of Honour was England and GB International and all time top goalscorer, Tina Cullen. She was accompanied by Chris Todd, a former international Olympic Umpire and Vice President of England Hockey and Sefton’s Chief Coach and GB International Coach and England International Peter Nicholson.

Throughout the season every Tuesday afternoon come rain, hail and snow; 3-4 coaches from Liverpool Sefton coached between 15 and 60 Year 7-10 girls. In total, over 120 different students attended and have made great progress. We also had a number of ABS students playing for our Junior Sefton Under 12 and Under 14 teams in fixtures against clubs such as Wigan, Neston, and Runcorn, on Sunday mornings.

As part of the school-club partnership, Liverpool Sefton uses Archbishop Blanch for its training on Wednesdays and Thursday evenings and matches on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The club has 5 Women’s Teams and 4 Men’s teams. The top Women’s First team plays in the National League so is the best Women’s team between North Wales and Manchester. During the year it struggled but thanks to the marvellous pitch at AB we managed to beat Wakefield, the eventual champions, and both top universities Loughborough and Durham and retain our National League status. All other women’s teams have had good degrees of success, most notably the W4s who went for most of the season unbeaten, winning both Lancashire Division 2 and the Division 2 League Cup. The W5s continued to thrive whilst the W2s retained its North League position and the W3s came second in Lancashire Division 1, a particularly notable achievement as most of the opposition are 1st and 2nd teams and also reached the Division 1 Cup Final losing to Formby 1s.

Our aim next season is to let the students from Archbishop Blanch start to train with the adult teams and play for them in League matches. ALSO we look forward to having new ABS players. Anyone who has older sisters (and brothers!) or mums and dads (and aunties and uncles) or girlfriends and boyfriends is asked to tell them of our Back to Hockey Courses we are running on summer evenings from May to August.

Bill Chambers

Chair Liverpool Sefton Hockey Club 

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"Our two daughters have had the best start in life thanks to the caring, enthusiastic and hardworking staff of Archbishop Blanch School. Choosing the right secondary school for one's children is such a difficult task, but we could feel the special ethos of ABS on our first visit. You inspire your pupils to achieve the academic heights of which they are capable in a happy, safe and vibrant environment."
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