Bedford Girls’ School student Kate Axford has been called-up to the England Hockey U18 Girls squad, after her performances at the U17 High Performance Assessment Camp (HiPAC) caught the eye of the U18 England selectors.
Since HiPAC in October, Kate has been promoted to train with the initial England U18 squad, but was last week included in the final England training squad of 28 girls, having played for the U16s last year.
The 16 year-old is in the middle of a three-day training camp with her England team-mates at Lilleshall National Sports Centre, where she will be keen to lay down an early marker to be on the roster for the 18-girl squad, who will face countries including Holland and Germany over the coming months. England will also participate in the EuroHockey U18 Championships in Ireland in July.
Kate said: “I gained a lot of confidence playing at an international level for the U16s last season, and I’m looking forward to the experience of training over the next six months with the best U18 England players.’
“It’s a real honour to put on an England shirt. The expectations of the coaching team are very high and the squad is working really hard. This year will be even tougher for me than the last, as many members of the squad will be entering their second season with the U18s.”
After training camps at Lilleshall and Repton, Kate will be hoping to secure her spot in the starting line-up against Holland over the Easter weekend.