Sainsbury's School Games

School games 2015 - AASE participant in action 480 x 290

England’s U17 talent pool enjoyed four days of elite competition against Ulster, Scotland and Wales as part of the Sainsbury's 2015 School Games in Manchester. 96 players from the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence programme (AASE) split into three equal teams of girls and boys and played as England Red, England Blue and England White. This event represents a unique opportunity to experience a multi-sport competition environment and replicates the inspirational setting of the Olympics with an Opening and Closing Ceremony.

England Reds finished fifth having improved in every game, producing a pleasing performance against Wales to win 5-0. Some excellent offensive skills were in evidence. England White finished fourth losing against a solid Scottish side, unfortunately playing with 10 men for most of the game. The Blue team played in the final against Ulster, eventually winning the silver medal.

Here's what some of our competing athletes had to say about their experience:

‘I liked being in the athlete village because it made me realise what an Olympics might be like - I really want to represent my country’

‘The coaches were really understanding and good at bringing together players who hadn’t played together before’

‘I enjoyed testing myself against players from other nations. I realise I have a lot of work to do’

In the girls’ competition England White finished as gold medal winners with a convincing, well disciplined performance against Scotland. England Blue just missed out of the medals in fourth place with England Red beating Wales to claim fifth spot.

Rosie from England Red said the games have really taught her how important perseverance is across a four day tournament. Zoe from England Red said: “the whole experience has been amazing, with all the different sports here and how official it all is.”

Sainbury's school games 2015 girls 450

The athletes have been inspired to pursue their goals and recognise that the games can provide the springboard for the stars of the future competing at National level. Our hockey players will look forward to finishing the AASE programme at the end of the year having gained enormous development and the drive to further improve.