Noah joins elite junior hockey squad in hunt for spoils at international fest

A 12-year-old schoolboy has been called up to an elite junior hockey squad hunting for spoils at an international three-day festival in Nottingham.

Noah Catton is among a group of 18 players from the county set-up to have made the cut for the Staffordshire Marauders outfit, which will challenge regional opponents from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

When the pandemic scuppered efforts to pick a Midlands squad for this month’s UK under-13 hockey championship, the slot was awarded to a combined under-13 and under-14 Staffordshire boys’ side.

Considered as minnows of the competition, the entirely Staffordshire- based unit must pitch themselves against teams selected from much larger geographical areas when they run out at Nottingham Hockey Centre.

Noah, a Stafford Grammar School midfielder, who is a member of Telford and Wrekin Hockey Club, successfully steered his way through two trials to earn a place in the Marauders’ line-up.

“I’m nervous but I’m really looking forward to going away with the rest of the squad. It’s going to be very tough. We have got a good team though and it would be great if we do well in the tournament,” said Noah, who took up hockey at the age of six and has represented Staffordshire for the past two seasons.

Ulster Nomads, Annadale (Belfast), West Scotland, East Scotland, the North East and South Saxons are among nine opponents Marauders will face at the 11-a-side festival, which gets underway on June 25.

Their coach, Kevin Heath, said: “There are going to be some junior international players there and we are by far the smallest area taking part, so it will be a huge challenge but also a fantastic experience.

“It’s being run as a full international competition, so music will play as they come out onto the pitch and there will even be a local tv channel filming the games. It gives youngsters exposure to the next level of hockey and a taste of what it’s like to compete at national and international events.”

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