Quicksticks festival generates a buzz

Cromer High School's pitch was alive with over 100 hockey players from local primary schools participating in North Walsham Hockey Club/North Norfolk Schools Sport Partnership's second Quicksticks Festival.

Enthusiasm for the event was even greater than last year, with 14 teams taking part. Antingham and Southrepps, St Mary's Roughton, Northrepps and Sheringham were playing for the first time, joining Cromer, North Walsham, Millfield, Worstead, The Belfry at Overstrand, Mundesley and Bure Valley schools.

With support from NNSSP, North Walsham Hockey Club coaches, Charlotte Else and Mary Cheesman, have been running hockey sessions in all these schools and more since September, leading up to the festival.

'Last year was very exciting,' said co-ordinator Mary Cheesman. 'But the buzz this year is even greater. Hockey is really beginning to grow in our primary schools and carrying on into our high schools.

'The children love the speed and the skills involved in playing, and their desire to play even more hockey can be seen in the numbers in NWHC's junior section.'

Newcomers and old hands alike played seven games with lots of goals scored.

The points at the top were tight again. Last year's winners, Bure Valley, were narrowly pipped to the winners' medals by first-time entrants Sheringham, whose defence could not be penetrated.

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They were closely followed by Mundesley, EDP Sports School of the Year, and North Walsham Junior School, but all the teams had individual successes and enjoyed their afternoon of competition. Sheringham and Bure Valley now represent north Norfolk in the county finals.

Medals and a tree for each school to plant were distributed by North Walsham Hockey Club president, Mike Bartram, and the tremendous support of the Sports Partnership, which will disappear in August as a result of the government's CSR, was acknowledged.

Once again, success was to be found not only amongst the players but also in NWHC's young leaders, from Cromer, North Walsham and Aylsham High Schools.

Supported by a smaller core of adult members this year, they played a major role in the preparation and running of the festival and their performance was magnificent.

'It is inspiring to see what our young players and leaders are capable of,' concluded NWHC chair, Jo Todd.