Major England Hockey accolade for ‘ecstatic’ Old Persean
24 May 2018
Tess Howard (OP 2017) has expressed her delight at winning the Investec Women’s Junior Performance Player of the Year honour at the 2018 England Hockey Awards.
After leaving The Perse last year, she helped the England U21 squad take bronze at the European Junior Championships before being drafted into the new Great Britain Elite Development Programme.
Tess has also successfully combined studying geography at Durham University with helping the university team reach the BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) semi-finals and finish third in Investec Women’s League, Conference North this season. She also earned the player of the year award from the club.
She said: “I was so surprised to win the award, but I’m ecstatic. I only play hockey because I enjoy it so much and have so much fun on the pitch.
“It’s made me want to take the sport more seriously now just because it’s opened up my mind to what could be in the future.
“I’ve really grown as a player and a person this season. I’ve moved to Durham University while also doing the GBELP and it’s a change which has ended up being super-positive.
“With the GBELP, it only started in September so it’s a new programme with a brilliant coach and support coaching team.
“It’s been essentially learning a new style of hockey, quite simple but quite exciting at the same time.
“We’ve got a tournament in Belgium at the end of July and it will be the first time we’ve competed as a GB U23 team playing with English, Scottish and Welsh players, so it’s very exciting.”
Tess paid tribute to the support she had received from The Perse in helping her get where she has so far in hockey.
She said: “I hope I’ll keep my connection to The Perse very strong. The main thing I learned was to be enthusiastic and I’m so grateful to the coaches for nurturing me and helping me grow.
“In Mr Kirkham, I had a mentor from the beginning, and Mr Peckett, Mr Morgan and Mr Hayward were out on the pitch with me whenever I needed, so The Perse and my old club, Cambridge City, are my roots.
“Hockey is one of my greatest passions and I’ll just go for it and see where it takes me. No-one ever regretted trying hard.”