Laurie Bowden, an Upper Sixth student at Seaford College, has just been selected for the England U18s hockey team. Laurie has been a pupil at Seaford since Year 9, and he progressed through the various county and regional sides to play for England U16s. He has now had the call up for the England U18s, and has aspirations to reach the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
It was something that the talented Sixth Form student was not expecting. Laurie said: ‘I found out two weeks ago and I was really happy, I really wasn’t expecting it. I had been ill for six weeks and unable to practice, so it was a bit of a surprise.’
Laurie is very down to earth about his success, and offered advice to those hoping to follow in his footsteps: ‘I’ve had quite a lot of setbacks, and so I would say that it is important to never back down. If you’ve got a dream, then there’s nothing to stop you achieving it. Always do your best in everything.’
As well as playing for England U18s, Laurie is also Captain of the Seaford 1st XI. On Saturdays, he plays for Seaford instead of his club, and he counts amongst his Seaford hockey highlights their success at the National Indoor Competition, where Seaford placed third, and winning the County Cup.
Laurie said: ‘Mr Paxton [hockey coach and former South Africa international] is really good, he really motivates you, and his international experience is so helpful. He’s also helped me develop my leadership skills, and I really enjoy being captain.’
Laurie will play his first U18 England match against Holland in Telford, and he is looking forward to a busy season of matches, with tours to Germany and Holland, the Four Nations and the Europeans. He hopes to progress to the U21 side and then the senior team, with the ultimate aim of reaching the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
‘My goal is to play for the England seniors. I’m also hoping to go to Loughborough to study Sports Management. You have to be so careful in hockey, you’re always at risk of injury, so it’s good to have a back-up plan. But my goal at the moment would be making the squad for the 2020 Olympics, that would be amazing.’