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New ‘Wildcats’ programme offers league and cup fixtures for U18 girls and boys

Photo: The U18 girls ‘Oxford Wildcats’ (including Banbury players Clemmie, Laurie and Libby) happy after a convincing win over Wimbledon in the second round of the EH Championships last month.

As of this season there is now a way for Banbury girls and boys to continue representing the club and playing Sunday hockey, as U18s. ‘Oxford Wildcats’ has been set up by a number of Oxfordshire hockey clubs, including Banbury, to allow those U18s who wish to play, the opportunity to compete in Tier 1 and Tier 2 leagues, as well as the England Hockey Championship.

The aim of Wildcats is to allow our juniors to keep playing with their peers at a level that pushes and suits them, without losing their tie to their club. There is a great social element to this too, with the opportunity to build friendships with like-minded hockey people from around the county.

Wildcats has its own team kit, distinct from any constituent clubs and it draws in coaching talent from different clubs. For England Hockey regulations and insurance purposes, Oxford Wildcats sits under an umbrella club and Oxford Hockey Club has very kindly taken this on. An additional modest fee applies to cover costs.

Banbury, like many other hockey clubs, is not quite big enough to regularly field full U18s teams. Study, part-time jobs and other commitments increasingly eat into ‘hockey time’ at this age. Some of our U18 boys have been enjoying U18 hockey over the last two seasons and for the 2022-23 season, the girls now can too.

The girls’ season has got off to a good start, with eight of our U17s and U18s having played matches so far, against Wimbledon, Amersham & Chalfont, Winchester and Maidenhead.

If you would like any more information on Wildcats, please contact Claire (U18 girls) or Jim (U18 boys):

Claire Dumbreck: Jim Chadbourne:

Photo: The Banbury-dominated Wildcats attacking line-up prepares to score another goal against Wimbledon Hockey Club

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