A CRADLEY Heath student has had an incredible year playing hockey at the highest level.

Will Hall, aged 17, from Rowley Regis, attends Ormiston Forge Academy and plays in the position of goalkeeper.

He started the year by being selected to attend an Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) Academy run by England Hockey in conjunction with Loughborough College.

Hall was also selected for assessment for the under-18 NAGS (National Age Group Squads). NAGS represent England at under-16, under-18 and under-21 level and the squads are one of highest honours a junior hockey player can attain.

Based on observations and coaches feedback from the sessions, Hall was invited to a development day with England Hockey.

Being part of the squad gave the lower sixth form student, who is currently studying A levels, access to high-performance coaching in team play, small unit play, set pieces, tournament play and individual technical coaching. In addition, he was given advice and training in nutrition, injury management, lifestyle, psychology and anti-doping.

As part of the under-18 squad, Hall attended the Sainsbury School Games, held at Loughborough University in September as well as the 'Joint Regional Performance Centre' trials, for a place in the Mercia regional team, to play at the Futures Cup competition. Based on his performances, he was selected to play for Mercia Lynx, one of the four regional teams in the Hockey Futures Cup. This is the selection process for the full England under-18 squad, which he hopes to break into.

Hall is widely considered as one of the top eight keepers in the country and during the cup competition played exceptionally well. He played four halves of hockey, instead of the usual three due to his team-mate suffering an injury. In those four halves, he saved every penalty corner directed at him and saved a penalty stroke.

Principal at Ormiston Forge Academy, Andrew Burns, said: "We are all incredibly proud of Will and have done all we can to support him in his quest for academic and sporting excellence. Will has worked hard for this and his achievements at this young age show how committed and talented he is."