Inspirational Old Persean sports stars shine in 2022
What a stellar year 2022 has been on the pitch for three inspirational Old Persean sports stars.
Alex Coles (2018), Tess Howard (2017) and Michael Pepper (2016) have risen to new heights in their respective sports of rugby, hockey and cricket this year.
For Tess Howard, 2022 was the time for a remarkable comeback following serious injury, culminating in a gold medal.
Having become an established member of the Great Britain and England teams, earning 37 caps since making her international debut in 2018, Tess looked all set to be part of Team GB for last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
She suffered the anguish of tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee shortly before the competition though, and spent many months going through the rehabilitation process.
Tess showed tremendous resilience and determination to make her return to an England kit in the FIH Pro League in May and quickly showed she had lost none of her touch in attack.
The icing on the cake proved to be netting the decisive goal in a 2-1 win over Australia in the Commonwealth Games final in Birmingham in August to help England clinch their first-ever women’s hockey gold medal in the competition.
However, for Alex Coles, 2022 was a breakthrough year for both club and country. He won Northampton Saints’ young player of the year award and established himself as a regular in the Gallagher Premiership side’s starting XV.
His performances caught the eye of then England Head Coach Eddie Jones and after being selected in the training squad for the Autumn Internationals, he was named in the starting XV for England’s first match of the series against Argentina at Twickenham last month.
Alex went on to make further appearances during the series against Japan and South Africa and will hope to add to his cap collection in 2023.
Meanwhile, Michael Pepper made massive strides in his professional cricket career during the 2022 campaign.
He was Essex Eagles’ leading run-scorer in the Vitality T20 Blast and among the top 10 run-scorers in the competition with 439 runs.
Michael’s reward for his hard work and success with the bat for Essex came when he was drafted by Northern Superchargers in the high-profile Hundred tournament, where he competed with some of the best players in the world including T20 World Cup winners Adil Rashid, Harry Brook and David Willey.
Perse Assistant Director of Sport (Performance) Ravi Mahendra commented: “Michael, Tess and Alex have worked so hard to get to where they are.
“They are an inspiration for past and present pupils and have developed into role models and leaders, but more importantly they are all fantastic people.
“All three are still actively involved within the school community and continue to stay in touch and support the school.
“As a department, we are very proud of them and we are looking forward to seeing them continue their success at the most elite level.”