A club with a burning ambition to become a Talent Centre and Talent Academy has laid out its plans after deciding to go its own way.
Cambridge City HC split from Cambridge City Junior HC in its bid to become an accredited TC – although the club wasn’t one of 37 announced in the first cohort by England Hockey.
Cambridge City’s previous set up saw the club have an academy for under-16 and under-18 players, with the separate junior club providing for under-14s.
However the two clubs couldn’t agree on a pathway plan and City went it alone.
“What we needed, as a club, was to prove that we had from 10 to 18 which we didn’t have because we’ve always worked with the junior club,” City’s head of youth Grant Gilmour told the Cambridge Independent.
“We had no choice because we want to be a talent centre and talent academy therefore we need to go our own way.
“We started and set up our own under-14s and under-12s which also amalgamated into under-10s because we had the interest.”
CCHC have expanded their youth section this season with the support of Cambridge University. The aim is to bring together all under-12 and under-14 boys and girls with their existing U16 and U18 teams at their facility, Cambridge University Sports Ground at Wilberforce Road, which has three pitches and clubhouse.
City have six under-12 sides, five under-14s, three under-16 girls’ and two under-16 boys’ teams, with more than 200 juniors in the under-10 to under-14 age categories.
The club said it went its own way to try and fulfill England Hockey criteria for the talent strategy pathway.
“We had to do it. It just makes hockey stronger in this region, and gives everyone something to fight for,” Gilmour said.
Gilmour said that women’s 1s head coach Helen Richardson-Walsh had lost several players this year “but, luckily, because our youth section is so good she has brought them up and they’ve done the job.
“It just shows the quality we’ve got and the quality of the coaching. As they are coming through, they are being called upon and performing – it’s amazing.”
The club announced former GB international Jon Peckett to the CCHC coaching team in the summer, a former head of hockey at The Perse School.