Sheffield hockey coach left feeling his age at just 27 as club goes from strength to strength

A Sheffield hockey coach was left feeling his age at just 27 when he found himself playing alongside a youngster he introduced to the sport.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 6:22 pm

With a number of regulars unavailable for Sheffield Hockey Club’s men’s first team match against Doncaster last Saturday, three young players were drafted in, including 15-year-old Noah Milbourn.

The King Ecgbert School pupil lined up alongside Martin Sutherland, who delivered Noah’s first-ever coaching session in the sport five years ago.

“Martin was my first coach so he is the first player I looked up to,” said Noah, who lives in the south west area of Sheffield.

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Noah Milbourn, 15, and Martin Sutherland, 27, are now playing on the same team.

"Now, having been given the opportunity to play alongside him in a team, I feel he has contributed to my player development massively.”

The pair recreated a photo they took together in 2016 and helped Sheffield to a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Ollie Ashdown and Josh Knight.

“As a coach it is so rewarding to see players progress through the club and it’s nice to know you played a part in their development,” said former Sheffield Hallam student Martin, who now works as a teacher in West Yorkshire.

"I remember saying Noah could be an excellent player even when I first started coaching him, so to be playing alongside him is brilliant, even if it does make me feel a bit old.”

Martin, right, began coaching Noah five years ago.

Saturday’s game was Sheffield Hockey Club’s first match since the relaxation of COVID regulations.

There was more good news as two more of the club’s youngsters, Estelle Wade and Rebecca Shorter, helped the ladies team to a 2-0 win over Doncaster.

“We are so proud of our juniors at Sheffield Hockey Club,” said Sheffield Hockey Club chair Michele Daw

“We have always had a thriving junior section with many players, like Noah, showing great talent and progressing through the England Hockey Player Pathway.”

Sheffield Hockey Club has no fewer than eight men’s teams, five women’s teams and two mixed development sides, as well as more than 200 junior members and a veterans scene.

Michele added: “Despite the Covid restrictions we are seeing interest for our sport growing, which is very encouraging.”

The club is part of a South Yorkshire league and will play games against other local clubs throughout the summer months to provide players with some much-needed competitive action.