Hockey: Wotton youngster earns England call-up

Gazette Series: Michael Buist in action for Wotton. Picture by Rich Hall Photography Michael Buist in action for Wotton. Picture by Rich Hall Photography

WOTTON are celebrating the news that one of their younger players has been selected to train with the England under-15 age group at Lilleshall.

Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School pupil Michael Buist, 14, has played at the club for several years and in the last year has progressed on to being a regular starter in the men’s first team.

In line with the family atmosphere at Wotton, Buist’s older sisters both play for the club, while mother Moira has been involved in various fundraising and behind the scenes roles.

Chairman Stuart Emms said: “Mike is an outstanding talent. We are very proud that he has become our first home grown player to be recognised at national level; another nice landmark in the year we celebrate the club’s 25th anniversary.

"We have a lot of junior talent coming through the ranks at the club so we hope this will be the first of many.”

As well as Buist’s national recognition, three of his club contemporaries have also been selected for upcoming under-16s Junior Regional Performance Centres (JRPCs).

Henry Patteson, Dan Jones and goalkeeper Charlie Thomas were regulars in the men’s second team league campaign last season.

In addition, ladies first-team midfielders Eilidh Rogers and Beccy Chalmers were selected for the under-17s JRPC girls training groups.

At the other end of the age spectrum, Wotton’s Bruce Dunham was recently part of the West of England over-50s team, which finished runners-up in the Regional Championships so it has been a successful couple of weeks for the club in terms of representative honours.

Emms added: “Being part of England Hockey’s player pathway from grassroots to elite hockey is a key part of the club’s philosophy but we are equally proud of our commitment to provide an outlet for all ages and abilities to play the game.

"Our junior membership has trebled in the last year and our recent ‘Back to Hockey’ initiative encouraged adults who have never played the game to pick up a stick for the first time, all of which is helped by being able to play on the new facility on our doorstep provided by Wotton Community Sports Foundation (WCSF).”

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