Pathway to success in sport

On this page we would like to highlight the pathways that some of our pupils have taken to achieve success in sport.  Here is an example from Hockey more to follow in the next term….

Heather Francis Year 13

During year 7 I began to play hockey within our PE lessons and soon started to have matches against other schools. It was during his year I developed my love for hockey and was selected to play for the Powys U14 squad.

Year 8 then saw me to continue with school and county hockey but also being put forward by Mrs Gilbert to the hockey performance development centre (PDC) that was being held in Pontypridd.

During year 9 whilst still representing the school and county and also continuing with my training at the PDC, it was suggested to me to join a hockey club to further my development as a player. In January 2011 I joined Brecon Hockey Club and was soon playing in the U15s and Badgers (U18s) teams.

I continued to play for Brecon Hockey Club in year 10 whilst still playing for their Badgers side and representing their ladies team. We were fortunate enough during this year to win the league and gain promotion in the South Wales ladies division tables and also were Powys badgers league winners. Whilst Powys no longer had a hockey team I was lucky enough to be selected to represent South Wales U16s girls but unfortunately not Wales U16s girls which had now become my new aspiration.

Year 11 proved to be an extremely busy year for hockey development. Not only was I representing Brecon Hockey Club and the school but I was also captain to the South Wales U16s squad and playing in the South Wales U18s squad. A new hockey development structure began during this year that enabled me to attend a 360 performance centre in Cwmbran. It was during my time here that I was nominated and won a Hockey Wales Award for showing the seven values of the Olympic Games throughout my whole training. This award was presented to me by Sarah Thomas who is my role model and had represented GB in the London 2012 Olympic Games and had won a bronze medal. This was also the year that saw me reach my goal and represent Wales U16s in the 3 Nations tournament against Scotland and Ireland.

I was advised,during my welsh training to join a team that was playing in a higher league to develop my hockey even further. I joined Gwent Hockey Club in year 12 who’s ladies team had just been promoted to Prem 1 which is the highest league in South Wales. Within my first season at this club I have represented their ladies first team. We have achieved far more than we had anticipated reaching the final of the Welsh women’s shield and the Welsh women’s cup. These finals saw us narrowly miss out to Cardiff Met on penalty shuffles in the Shield finals on day one of finals weekend but a more determined and fired up team coming out the following day to beat Howardian 1XI in the cup finals. Two weeks later we went on to play the European Qualifiers match against Cardiff University and will now next season be competing in Europe after defeating Cardiff Uni.

I have continued with my 360 development hockey in Wales and continue to train with Wales. I have now represented Wales U18s in Holland where I was vice captain in our game against Belgium.

In the past few weeks I feel very fortunate and honored to hear that I have been selected to travel to Spain in July and represent the Welsh Dragons (Senior Wales B team) and in September represent Wales in the UK School Games which is to be held in Manchester.

When first picking up a hockey stick in Year 7, I would never have thought it would have lead me to where I am today and the opportunities that I have received. It just shows that with hard work, determination and learning from your mistakes you can achieve anything.

heather francis