A TEENAGER from Marow has been named England U16s Hockey Player of the Year.
Jack Turner, who captains the national side at age group level, won the award after a stellar year for club, country and school.
The award was given to the most deserving U16s player across the country. Coaches at clubs and schools throughout England were invited to send in nominations, with a panel of hockey writers then deciding the winner.
Turner said: “I’d completely forgotten about the award. When I heard that I’d won it was completely out of the blue.
“A teacher congratulated me at school and I had to ask, ‘what for?’. When they told me I raced home and there was an email to my dad confirming it.
“It’s an honour to receive something like this. I’ve never won anything like it before and I’m very proud.”
Turner has certainly had a successful year on the hockey pitch.
At club level he is part of a Marlow HC first team that has risen through the leagues in recent seasons, and in April he helped the U18s to a national title in their first ever season when they beat Winchester 1-0 to lift the England Hockey Plate trophy.
By then Turner had already been an integral cog in the Sir William Borlase’s team which became the first state school in history to be crowned National Indoor U18 Hockey Champions.
That was in January, and shortly afterwards he was handed the England captain’s armband for a prestigious Four Nations Tournament in Spain.
At the time he said: “It was special. It’s hard to realise it when you are walking out for the first time, but when you’re standing there and the national anthem is playing then you realise it.
“It was such an honour and I felt a responsibility, but I loved having that responsibility. I was very proud.
“There was quite a big crowd and it was very noisy. I didn’t picture it being that noisy.
“But leading the team out and singing the anthem, it lived up to all of my dreams.”
Turner, who now has 30 junior caps, kept the armband throughout a season which has seen the England team make leaps forward.
He said: “I captained the U16s throughout the season and it was a really good year.
“We weren’t completely successful, but we improved an awful lot.
“Germany are just about the best team in Europe and at the start of the season we lost 6-2 to them.
“But we played them three times at the end of the season and led in each game. We lost them all, but they were only narrow defeats.”
However, the year wasn’t all good for Turner and he admits there is one thing that has been hard swallow.
His award was presented at a glitzy night at The Royal Yacht Club in Knightsbridge last week, but the man himself wasn’t able to attend.
Instead, he was in bed with tonsillitis and it was left to his dad, Mark, to collect the trophy on his behalf.
He said: “I was disappointed not to be able to go myself, but I was glad to at least have a representative there.”