England debut delight for Perse hockey player
Elliott Kirkpatrick (Year 11) helped the England U16 boys’ hockey squad to series victory over Ulster U17 following his first international call-up.
He featured in two of the three matches at England Hockey’s national centre Bisham Abbey as they ran out 2-1 winners overall against an older Northern Ireland side.
Elliott, who came through a number of trials to earn his place in the 26-player national squad, was pleased to be part of a triumphant team.
“Ulster were a really good team and there’s still a lot of work to do, but for the first matches we’ve played together, it went really well,” said Elliott, who plays at full-back.
Elliott has been training with the England squad since just before Christmas, meeting his team-mates every few weeks for sessions at Bisham Abbey or Lilleshall National Sports Centre.
He said: “We’ll do a bit of set piece work on short corners and long corners, go through practising presses and make sure everyone knows what they’re doing.
“Filling in around that, it’s just getting used to playing with each other and I feel we’re improving with each session.”
Elliott enjoyed being able to put what the squad had learned into practice against Ulster and spend more time with the group and the coaches.
He added: “Before each game we would get a briefing talking about what to expect and what to try to carry out in the game.
“They also recorded the matches so we could do a debrief and look over the game footage. It was so helpful because you can see where you went wrong and what you need to do because sometimes your memory from the game isn’t the same as what you see on video.”
Elliott is now looking forward to representing England in the Four Nations tournament against the Netherlands, Scotland and Spain at Nottingham over Easter.