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2023 intake of the Women's GB EDP and Head of Hockey Harry Jones.

University of Exeter Sport celebrates England Hockey pathway success

In the first year of England Hockey’s new talent strategy, University of Exeter has successfully been accredited as a Talent Academy and officially launched in September 2022. The University has also had 13 hockey performance athletes selected into the Great Britain Elite Development pathway (GB EDP) highlighting our commitment to supporting athletes at different levels within the pathway. 

The Talent Academies are aimed at supporting talented 15-18 year olds with weekly training sessions and bi-weekly S&C support. Following a competitive application process University of Exeter has been named as one of 21 accredited Talent Academies for 2022-2023. University of Exeter Head of Women’s Hockey Matt Way leads on the talent academy coaching and University of Exeter S&C coach Kai Hill delivers S&C support 

University of Exeter Head of Women’s Hockey Matt Way commented “It has been a brilliant start to the Talent Academy cycle with the opportunity to work with some of the most talented young players in the region. Now that the weekend league season has come to it’s conclusion, the competition element of the TA cycle starts to ramp up with regional matches against Bath, Oxford, Reading and Southampton. This will all culminate in an exciting opportunity for the selected 16 outfield and 2 GKs to represent the University of Exeter and compete in the National competition in July”. 

In relation to the S&C support provided, University of Exeter S&C coach Kai Hill commented “The aim of the Talent Academy strength and conditioning provision is to develop each athlete's fundamental movement skills through education and frequent exposure to the key movement patterns whilst developing strength and robustness specific to hockey. This allows the players to excel on the pitch and manage their weekly workloads. Each athlete also gets the opportunity to experience an aspect of the performance hockey programme we run here at the University of Exeter”. 

Reflecting on University of Exeter’s first year as a Talent Academy as a whole, Director of Sport Alison Davidson commented We are really pleased to be part of the new talent strategy for England Hockey and proud to host one of the talent academies at Exeter. With hockey being one of our University performance sports we are keen to work with England Hockey wherever possible. We look to continue to support the hockey players sitting within our own Performance Programme, Sports Scholarship Scheme and named on Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) as well as talented young players within our region. 

Within our current University of Exeter Hockey Sports Scholars we have had huge success this year. Martha Taylor has been part of the England Senior squad and earlier in the year was called up to represent GB women’s hockey in the FIH Pro league squad playing fixtures against Argentina and the Netherlands. In addition, as a University we have had 13 athletes selected into the GB EDP for 2023, listed below: 

1.Ollie Drummond 

2.Ben Fox 

3.Nick Nurse 

4.Jacob Payton 

5.Will Petter 

6.Connor Sign 

7.Jamie Taylor 

8.Lewis Wilcher 


1.Ella Burnley 

2.Flo Fletcher 

3.Georgie Gardens 

4.Millie Holme 

5.Becky Manton  

The GB EDP programme allows budding young athletes the opportunity to reach the top of their game and achieve their hockey ambitions. The GB EDP is coordinated by England Hockey on behalf of England Hockey, Scottish Hockey and Hockey Wales and is funded by UK Sport and the National Lottery. It has given an extra step in the performance development pathway, allowing the athletes to work up through the stages with aspirations to become an international athlete in the future. This way the athletes have a clearer line of development from the introduction of hockey right up into elite domestic hockey and then elite international performance. 

The programme runs annually from January to December each year where a formal assessment process is run in the autumn. The programme involves training camps and contact days which include high quality hockey training and enables the athletes to access other performance services such as physiotherapy, strength and conditioning, nutrition advice, performance analysis and psychology. The opportunity for joint training sessions and practice matches with the senior GB teams is regularly integrated into the programme too. 

We are incredibly proud of our University performance athletes who have been selected, all of which are competing regularly within our BUCS teams here at the University and also within weekend leagues. This year our women’s side won BUCS Championship silver and have been promoted into the Vitality Women’s Premier Division of theEngland Hockey league. We wish our EDP athletes all the success in the programme and with no doubt, we will see many of them on the international stage in the future.  

A huge congratulations from everyone here at the University of Exeter sport. 

Date: 4 April 2023