Ipswich School pupils must embrace national finals

Four Ipswich School hockey teams are taking part in the national final indoor competition next week.

Four Ipswich School hockey teams are taking part in the national final indoor competition next week. Head of Hockey and Girls Under 18 Coach Duncan Parnis, players Emma Fairhead, year 11, Sophie Sexton, year 11, Chris Head, year 11, Fran Tew, year 13, Tom Watson, year 13, and Head of Games and Under 18 Boys Coach David Hacker. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich School’s director of sport David Hacker has encouraged his pupils to enjoy the occasion at the national finals.

Hacker, a former GB player at the 2000 Olympics, previously worked at Somerset’s Millfield School – the only other school to have all four of their teams qualify for this weekend’s event.

“This (finals weekend) is what they have been working for and they need to enjoy it,” said Hacker.

“There will be nerves across the board, but if you can’t enjoy the finals, there is something wrong.

“I have only been here a couple of years and the success of the school’s hockey teams was already in place.

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“Hockey has gone from strength to strength in the last five to ten years.

“The pupils have an early exposure to hockey at the prep school, where the coaching is very strong.

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“We have had coaches like Bill Williams coming into the senior school while David Walsh has been very influential in the development of players, such as Harry Martin, who represented Team GB at the Olympics.”

Both Hacker, and head of hockey, Duncan Parnis, meanwhile, explained the possible secrets to success.

“All four teams are realistic propositions for the semi-finals,” said 48-year-old Hacker.

“People talk about momentum and if we are playing well and our set-pieces are successful, then we can mix it with the best in the country.”

Parnis added: “The teams have a good chance as they have already won three out the four regional titles.

“There will be lots of England players on show and it is one of those tournaments that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”

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