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Leighton Park Celebrates New Hockey Astroturf with Victorious Opening Matches

Published by Leighton Park School on Wednesday 15th of May 2024

Leighton Park School officially inaugurated its new state-of-the-art hockey astroturf, marking a significant milestone for its sports programme. Olympic hockey player, Shona McCallin, set the tone and formally opened the pitch with an inspiring speech, reflecting on her journey to winning Olympic Gold. Shona told us: “I am biased because I love Sport. It has given me so many opportunities, confidence and lifelong friends – as well as the ability to travel the world. You get a real sense of belonging from being in a team, which was so powerful for me growing up. For these young people, this facility will open up so many opportunities. It is brilliant that it is now open. I wish I’d had something like this when I was at school”. The grand opening on Thursday was not just a celebration of the new facilities but also a showcase of talent and sportsmanship with two spectacular hockey matches. The event kicked off with an intense game between the Leighton Park Girls' U18 1st team and their counterparts from Reddam House. Both teams displayed exceptional skill and teamwork. Leighton Park’s girls clinched a 3-1 victory with goals from Charlotte C, Charlotte H and Flick. Supporting students and staff cheered from the side lines, enjoying the speed and skill on display. All the girls showed their quality, honed through hard work in training. Special mention goes to Charlotte C, whose energy and commitment was on display from start to finish, and Niamh, whose excellent tackle and weaving run led to the second goal


Matt Richards, our Chemistry teacher and Head of Hockey, also a Reading 1 st Team player commented: “I’m very excited to see a high level of hockey. It is amazing to have an Olympian here to open this new Astro. It will help the students to improve their technical skills and our ability to host local area tournaments.” Leighton Park U18 1st team member, Cali, commented: “It is so lovely to have this amazing new Astro especially after all the recent successes we’ve been having. It feels like a well-deserved reward.” Goal scorer Charlotte C, who is also in the England Rugby Developing Player Programme, commented: “Throw yourself into every sport possible because it really opens doors and the values you get from sport are so important and will stick with you throughout life.” Fellow goal scorer Charlotte H, who is in Upper Sixth, added: “I’m really proud, we had a really special team this year, helped by having so many sports trips together. I couldn’t be happier that we were able to round of this incredible experience with the opening of this new Astro.” Following the girls' triumph, the astroturf bore witness to a thrilling exhibition match featuring Leighton Park boys with distinguished players from Reading's Performance Squad. This high-octane match provided an opportunity for Leighton Park students to play alongside top-tier athletes, enhancing their skills and experiencing firsthand the pace and intensity of higher-level competition. First goal scorer and Leighton Park student, Ollie in Year 12, who plays in the England U16 Hockey team commented: “I’m really excited to use this facility. I enjoy my hockey and it is great for the team to help take us to the next level.” His younger brother George in Year 9 showed he wasn’t daunted by playing against a top-quality men’s side, scoring the third goal with a lovely jinking run. The new facility, equipped with the latest in turf technology, promises to be a game-changer for the school's hockey teams. "This new astroturf represents a significant investment in our sports facilities and demonstrates our commitment to excellence in all aspects of school life, including sport," said Deputy Head Pastoral, Nicky Hardy. The successful matches against Reddam House and the collaboration with Reading's Performance Squad have set a high standard for the future, promising many more thrilling encounters on this high-quality new pitch. Leighton Park offers over thirty different sports as part of our Games ad Co-curricular programmes. Hockey is one of our focus sports, alongside Football and Netball

Leighton Park Celebrates New Hockey Astroturf with Victorious Opening Matches  - Photo 1
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