Hockey player Kirkby Stephen selected for England

A multi-talented young Cumbrian is the latest star from our county to be chosen to represent her country.

Martha Bainbridge, 14, from Kirkby Stephen, has been selected to play England Under-16 hockey and is the only Cumbria representative in the squad.

Martha’s mother, Angela, supported her throughout her budding hockey career, taking her across the country, and last week accompanied her to Lilleshall National Sports Centre, where she played her first games for England.

Angela spoke of Martha’s journey from primary and secondary schools in Kirby Stephen to national recognition:

“She started playing hockey when she was just 6 years old and played for Kirkby Stephen Hockey Club.”

“Martha enjoys many sports including cricket and football. She was asked to play for Sunderland Girls Under 11 a few years ago but opted for hockey and was selected to play for Cumbria County Hockey at the age of 11.

“She was invited to one of the regional performance centers in Fylde, and we went to St Albans for a few days for a tournament – Martha’s team was called the Pennine Pumas, and he happened to be there. there were various England Hockey scouts there.”

Angela said Martha was then offered a trial with the England Under-16s:

“We were told she was selected just after Christmas, and at 14 she is one of the youngest.

“Most of the girls are 16.

“We were in Lilleshall last week at the National Sports Center last week where she played her first games for England.

“They played 3 games against Ulster Girls, and they tried to give all the girls a chance, so Martha played in two of them and scored one.”

Angela said she and Martha, who plays as a striker, have high hopes for the future and can continue to be the pride of her city and county:

“I’ve traveled all these years watching her, and it’s amazing to see all the hard work pay off.

“She’s the only girl in the area – there’s one from Newcastle and one from Stockton, but it’s all from the North.

“If Martha is lucky enough to be chosen for the 5 nations it will be in Holland in April and again if she is lucky enough to be chosen for the 8 nations it will be in Barcelona in July, with camps training where they will play Scotland and Germany or Belgium in between, with locations to be confirmed.”

“She’s been very lucky with the training she’s had over the years from Kirkby Stephen Hockey Club and school.”

Catherine J. Martinez