PERFORMANCE PATHWAYS: GIRLS’ HOCKEY, CRICKET & NETBALL

The girls representing themselves and Downside at the numerous Performance Pathways each week, do so with great commitment and humility.

They are an example to the sporting community at Downside of hard work and dedication. Not only this, but the girls are an embodiment of the Benedictine Values every time they step out on the courts and pitches both home and away. We are proud of the role that these pupils play in driving standards throughout our community. Through their commitment and influence, performance pathways will become more attainable in a variety of sporting disciplines offered here at Downside.

Girls’ Hockey
As the main Games option for the girls during the Michaelmas Term, Hockey is well represented throughout the School. The same can be said for the Downside representatives on the list of trialists for the Junior Development Centres (JDC). At present, 13 girls will be trailing this summer from the U14-U17 age groups. The girls attending the trials at Clifton College are embarking on their first step within the Hockey pathway. With the Great Britain Field Hockey Senior Team winning Gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016, there is no better time for our girls to be seeking influencers off the pitch. With the local Vitality Women’s Hockey League team, Clifton Robinsons in Bristol, there may be the opportunity to attend future fixtures when the restrictions have eased. The girls have been supported by Mr Edge and Mr Brooking during their preparation for the trails, and we are all very excited for the girls to have this opportunity.

Girls’ Cricket
England were not only the hosts of the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup, but they were also the winners of the tournament. The success of the women’s Cricket team is rightly added to the long list of female sporting influencers in this country. These influencers play an incredibly important role to inspire the next generation of female athletes. As the nation caught Cricket fever, so many of our girls. One of our Fifth Formers has been a regular at the crease, attending additional Cricket sessions with Mr Setterfield on the pitches not only at Downside, but also with the Somerset Country Cricket team. She also attended an assessment in October of 2020 and was subsequently selected to train with the County Age Group U18 Girls Winter Training Squad. She is very excited to be a part of the squad and is looking forward to the potential opportunities in store this summer.

Girls’ Netball
Has there ever been a better time to be a Netball fan? Throwback to 2018 and one of the most heart stopping moments in International Netball history – England win the Commonwealth Games Gold Medal, the pinnacle of International Netball, won by a shot from Helen Housby with no time left on the clock. A moment that not only sent shockwaves through the Gold Coast and the Australian Netball team, but a moment that awoke the Netball community in England. Since then, Netball has become increasingly more available and prominent in the sporting calendar. Sky Sports now dedicates a channel to the Vitality Netball Superleague and with Team Bath currently top of the table, it is a great opportunity to watch high performance sport locally. On our own courts, we have a Team Bath representative of our own. Another Fifth Former has been selected to join the Team Bath Futures Pathway at the Academy Development Centre (ADC) in Bristol. Recently, she has travelled to Glastonbury and Gloucester to represent the Bristol ADC. She benefits from high performance level coaching and sport science support as a member of the squad. She continues her wider training with the support of Mrs Chapman and Mrs Hadfield at School. Also on our home courts one of our netball-loving Third Formers is part of the Satellite Netball Academy, based in Yeovil. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the Satellite sessions are yet to resume. However, once they do, we are excited to support her and the two trialists from the Third and Fourth Form who will be hoping to advance their Netball development.

By Conor O’ Rourke, Head of Tennis Development

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