England Superstars Audenshaw Excels In Sporting Achievement
Monday 31st October 2016 @ 15:44 by Mark Phillip
Denton & Audenshaw Sports

By Sarah Foulkes:

A Tameside School is fast becoming a hotbed of national sporting talent – with no fewer than six students currently representing England in their chosen sports.

Audenshaw School, which is well known for its prowess in rugby, football and cricket and has produced a number of professional sports stars can now also boast a fencer, a hockey player, a volleyball player and two karatekas amongst its students, all of whom have represented their country at national or international level.

13-year-old Nathan Chorlton is the youngest of the school’s England stars, and forms part of the national fencing team. Year 10 and Year 12 black belts Sam Jackson and Natasha Holmes represent England in karate, whilst Sixth formers Liam Kennerley and Hannah Monks combine A Level study with hockey and volleyball respectively.

Meanwhile head girl Zoe Higham excels at a rather more unusual sport: underwater hockey.

The Year 13 student is currently in training for the team selection for the World Group Championships in Tasmania in 2017 and hopes to be chosen to captain the squad. And she says although her sport is little known, her teachers couldn’t be more supportive: “My teachers were really surprised when they found out I played underwater hockey, because most people have never heard of it, even though a lot of the top level players are based here in Tameside.

“Thursday for me is hockey training day and I plan everything around that. My teachers understand if I need to fit homework around training and I use the school gym as much as possible so I can keep up with my training. The PE staff even come in and give me advice on new exercises to build in to my routine.

“It’s fantastic that so many of the students here are representing their country in so many different sports. I think all of us feel there’s a real understanding amongst the staff of the need to balance training with schoolwork and they really help us with that.”

Zoe’s not the only student training hard though – fellow Year 13 student Liam Kennerley has combined his studies with hockey practice four times a week since he first made the England team just before his GCSEs, whilst volleyball player and Year 12 student Hannah Monks has more selection camps for the England squad over the course of the next year after helping the national under 17s team to silver at the UK Schools Games in Loughborough in September.

Meanwhile karate black belt and Year 12 student Natasha Holmes is already something of an old hand when it comes to the competition circuit. The Commonwealth, three times English and four times British champion is currently in training for four major tournaments – and is working towards her grading for her 3rd Dan black belt in November.

Year 10 student and black belt Sam Jackson has won tournaments for his Denton based club Red Tiger Karate as well as medals for the England Team and hopes one day to take gold at the Olympics.

And Year 9 student Nathan Chorlton will represent his country not once but twice in the next six months as part of the England fencing team.

Nathan, who trains with Chadderton based Marshall Fencing, will travel to Hungary in November for the Budapest International and to Poland next March for Challenge Wrataslavia.

The 13 year old, who was selected for the England U15 squad after coming second in the England Youth Championships earlier this year, says he dreams of being picked for Team GB’s Olympic fencing squad one day, but he knows that competition for places is tough: “You have to train really hard and win lots of national and international competitions to be selected for the England team, but I get lots of support from my teachers at Audenshaw – they’ve even supported me to raise funds to help meet the costs of taking part in the sport”.

Curriculum Leader of PE, Adam Donnelly said: “Audenshaw has always been recognised as a school which excels at sport. Our ethos of helping students find the balance between school work and training has been key to the success of many of our rugby, football, cricket and swimming stars, so it’s fantastic to see this approach helping students to achieve at national and international level in an ever wider range of sports.

“We wish all our England sports stars every success and look forward to celebrating their achievements.