HWC youth and junior awards winners announced

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

The winners of the 2020 Hockey Writers’ Club youth and junior awards for 2019 received their awards at the annual presentation lunch on January 15 at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, Knightsbridge, London.

The four inductees of the prestigious Hockey Writers' Club youth awards join an illustrious cast of past winners, including Rio Olympic Games gold medalists Maddie Hinch and Sophie Bray.

The judging panel sought information from coaches, clubs and schools, with the judges considering not just hockey ability but players’ personal qualities and potential for future development.

Youth, Boys under-18 – Ben Wall (Whitchurch HC, Caldicott School)
Youth, Girls under-18 – Raphaella Robeson (Wellington College & Wimbledon HC)
Junior, Girls under-16 – Claudia Swain (Repton School & Repton HC)
Junior, Boys under-16 – Thomas Leadlay (Eltham College and Blackheath & Elthamians HC)

Boys under-18 - Ben Wall

Ben Wall

Boys U18 winner Ben Wall with HWC chairman Charles Randall

Ben, who is aged 16, originally played for Gwent HC and has moved to Whitchurch HC this season and currently attends Caldicot School, a non-hockey school for boys, though it is offered to girls. Ben, who plays in midfield and defence, attended his first NAGS camp when he was 12 and has since played for Wales U16, U18 and U21s. Ben is also a junior coach at Gwent HC, coaching the U9s mixed team and played against Scotland and in the European under-21 competition. Underlining his commitment to the sport, Ben and his sister set up and ran a hockey club at their old primary school and there are now hockey players in the years below.

Girls under-18 - Raphaella Robeson

Raphaella Robeson

Girls U18 winner Raphaella Robeson with coach John Hurst and GB/England women's coach Mark Hagar

Goalkeeper Raph joined the senior set up at Wimbledon this season and has completed her first half of the season in the Ladies 1st Team in the Investec East Conference Premier Division. “She has done amazingly well, being such a young person within a very talented adult environment,” said Simon Organ, Wimbledon coach. “I am very proud to see how she has developed both as a goalkeeper and how she has matured with her thinking and communication skills amongst older people. She has been selected for Wessex Leopards at the England Hockey Futures Cup and England U16 NAGS. Raph has also trained with England Hockey to be a Level 1 umpire, and is also active as a coach with Wimbledon’s junior goalkeeper programme. She is also establishing her own website for goalkeepers, with objectives to provide support and guidance. She is also a fine swimmer, recently completing two official cross channel swim relays at her school (2016 and 2018) and raising £8000 for charity.

Boys under-16 - Thomas Leadlay

Thomas Leadlay

Boy's U16 winner Thomas Leadley

Thomas, who plays left midfield, has been playing for Blackheath & Elthamians HC since he was aged eight. Still only aged 13, his passion for hockey is not limited to just playing but also volunteering as a young helper (coaching and umpiring) at both the club and his school. Thomas has been supported in his rise by Edd Thorogood, Head of Sports at Eltham College, and Blackheath’s club captain, who has nominated him for this award. He hopes to get stronger physically and mentally over the next couple of years and reach a higher level after receiving plaudits at the club. He is also planning to take a Level 1 Umpire course as soon as he turns 14.

Girls under-16 - Claudia Swain

Claudia Swain

U16 winner Claudia Swain with women's GB coach Mark Hagar

Claudia played for England U16 for the past two seasons, and is now part of the U18 squad. She has been instrumental in many of Repton School's recent titles, including a hat-trick in the U14 final in 2018 and finding U16 successes for the school and club titles last year. She played for Repton HC Ladies 1st VI Indoor Squad as a starting player as they qualified for the National League Division 1, with an average squad age of 18. “Claudia is one of the most exciting prospects that I have coached at Repton,” said Martin Jones. “She has an immense amount of natural ability and raw athleticism. Added to her ever-improving skill level, her determination, hard work and willingness to win she has a bright future in the sport.”


2004 Rebecca Herbert; Darren Cheesman
2005 Nikki Kidd; Ashley Jackson
2006 Maddie Hinch; Dan Barstow
2007 Sophie Bray; Liam Doidge
2008 Alice Sharp; Ben Arnold
2009 Sarah Haycroft; David Condon
2010 Alice Sharp; Andy Bull and Harry Martin

From 2011 onwards the awards were increased to allow a Junior (16-and-under Award to be added.)

(Age 18-and-Under)
2011 Martha Baker; Joe Sharp
2012 Emily Defroand; Luke Taylor
2013 Rebekah Walker; Chris Proctor
2014 Holly Hunt; Liam Sanford
2015 Charlotte Calnan; Toby Reynolds-Cotterill
2016 Kate Axford; Tim Nurse
2017 Hannah Griggs; Matthew Ramshaw
2018 Beth Wood; Jordan Lake
2019 Raph Robeson; Ben Wall

(Age 16-and-Under)
2011 Joanna Leigh; James Albery
2012 Charlotte Daly; Conor Caplan
2013 Alice Wills; Jack Turner
2014 Lizzie Neal; Jack Whelan
2015 Ellie de Heer; Josh Pavis
2016 Darcy Bourne; Alex Pendle
2017 Maddie Goodman; Xavier Teyletche
2018 Aimee Plumb; Ellis Robson
2019 Claudia Swain; Thomas Leadlay