Hockey at Stowe has taken some big steps forward over the last few years and is looking to continue this trend in the coming years.
The Autumn term sees eleven girls’ teams and four yearlings’ teams take to the AstroTurfs each week in preparation for their League fixtures on Saturdays. All the girls’ teams are part of the very strong Midlands Independent Schools Hockey League (ISHL) and play Uppingham, Repton, Oakham, Rugby, Trent and Oundle. The yearlings are a part of the LUPOSS League, which includes tough fixtures against The Leys, Uppingham, The Perse, Oundle and Stamford. During the week our fixtures are closer to home, which keeps travelling time to a minimum, but we are able to maintain the quality of opposition as St Edward's, Bloxham and Abingdon are nearby.
The Senior boys also start their Hockey in the Autumn term with an indoor and outdoor session during the week and an occasional match against local rivals such as RGS High Wycombe and Bloxham.
The facilities at Stowe are some of the best school facilities in the country with two sand dressed, floodlit AstroTurfs, the most recent laid in Summer 2015.
Each Astro has a covered spectator seating area, fixed dugouts and a camera platform to video games for post-match analysis. There is also a warm up area which comes in useful when we host County and Regional tournaments. We have access to a third local AstroTurf that is available to us all year round.
Stowe has a good relationship with Buckingham Ladies Hockey Club (BLHC) who play in the National Premiership and use the school pitches. Our more talented girls are invited to attend training at BLHC to help them continue to develop in a different environment, with different coaches.
Indoor Hockey is starting to take off at Stowe with four teams (boys’ U16 & U18, girls’ U16 & U18) representing the School in the National Indoor Competition. This form of the game really highlights the core skills needed to excel in outdoor version, but is also fast, fun and great for aerobic fitness.
Every three years there is a major Hockey tour for the boys’ and girls’ 1st XI squads. Pre-Season tours also regularly take place, with teams visiting local European Hockey playing nations such as Holland, Belgium and Germany. Future tours will potentially include South Africa, Malaysia, India and Australia. Over the coming years we are looking to bring in junior tours for both the boys and girls.
Significant investment has been directed towards Hockey at Stowe over the last few years; the new AstroTurf in August 2015 with new dugouts, four new goals, re-developed warm up area and two new camera platforms. The School has also invested over £10,000 in video analysis equipment, which is a very powerful learning tool accessible to all Hockey teams.
External coaches are brought in to enhance to coaching talent already utilised by the students. A Goalkeeper coach has been hired to develop the specialised position and each performance team (1st XI, U16A, U15A, U14A) has the benefit of having 2 coaches to maximise the potential of the individuals within this squad.
With each passing term Stowe Hockey looks to find new ways to progress and develop the program as a whole, as well as the individual teams and players within it. Technology is becoming an increasingly important part of the international game and the benefits of this are starting to be seen in school Hockey and Stowe is certainly a school looking to utilise these technological advances.
Master in Charge: Mr Ben Scott