Meet Hamish Roberts (Knights, 2017)
We were excited to chat with our current Hockey Coach & alumnus Hamish Roberts (Knights, 2017) on his Hockey career to date, his career aspirations and how Ashford School was crucial in his development.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
- I started at Ashford School in 2010 in Year 7 and left in 2017 after my A Levels. I went on to study Geography at Loughborough University, graduating this summer with a 2:1. During this time, I represented Scotland Men’s Hockey at both U21 & U23 level, and this year I am training as part of the Scotland Men’s Elite Development Programme (SEDP).
Tell us more about your career as a Hockey player. At what age did you get into the sport and how did it progress? What has been your most rewarding moment so far?
- I only started playing Hockey at age 11 when I joined Ashford School, prior to joining I had never played before – so it was all very new to me. However, I picked it up quite quickly and by 13 I was playing for Ashford Hockey Club’s junior team. Shortly after, I started playing for Kent, and with encouragement from my hockey coach, Tom Butt, I started to play for the Men’s Hockey team at Folkstone. One year later, at 15, I moved to Canterbury Hockey Club, and at 16 I made their men’s first team and consequently my Premier League debut.
- As I developed as a hockey player, I moved up through the national ranks and in 2016/2017 I was selected to represent England U18 in the 6 Nations and a series of other international fixtures.
- When leaving Ashford School for Loughborough University I switched allegiances to Scotland where I joined the U21 side. In 2019, I was selected to represent Scotland Men’s U21 in the European Hockey Championships in Plzeň, Czech Republic where we won gold! The tournament started on 14 July 2019 and saw us take on Russia; Portugal and Italy in Pool B before the latter stages of the tournament. We played Ireland in the Semi-Finals, with me scoring the winning goal. The final was against Russia, which we won 9-0!
What was it like representing Scotland in the Men’s U21 team?
- It was a huge honour to represent Scotland U21 and to be given the opportunity to travel around the world playing hockey.
Where is the best place you have travelled to with your Hockey and why?
- My favourite place to have travelled was Plzeň in the Czech Republic for the European Hockey Championships. The tournament as a whole was an amazing experience, and every game had a great atmosphere, and it is also an extremely beautiful city.
What are your long-term sporting / career ambitions?
- In the long-term I hope to play in the Commonwealth and Olympic Games. Ideally, I would like to represent Scotland in the 2022 Commonwealth Games and Great Britain in the 2024 Olympic Games.
You’ve now returned to Ashford School as our Hockey Coach. What made you want to take up this post? How have your first few weeks back in School been?
- I was excited to take up the post of Hockey Coach at Ashford, and my first couple of the weeks have been very enjoyable! The role allows me to continue to train and play at Canterbury Hockey Club as well as use the School’s excellent facilities. This combined with the on-pitch coaching experience, will definitely improve my game and help me to achieve my long-term ambitions of becoming a Commonwealth and Olympic athlete.
- The students are keen to learn and develop as hockey players which is fantastic to see. I really want to encourage and inspire those who maybe don’t see themselves as hockey players to pursue the sport. Until I started at Ashford School, I had no experience of the game, and it was through the dedication of my hockey coach, Tom Butt, that I grew to love and progress in the sport.
What are your memories of Sport at Ashford School? Was it your favourite subject?
- My memory of sport during my time at Ashford School is the sheer diversity of sports we were able to pursue – I was able to play Rugby, Cricket, Indoor Hockey, Basketball, Athletics and participate in the Swimming Club. For me, as a passionate sportsperson, this experience was vital as it helped me rest from Hockey but also gave me the opportunity to develop more sporting skills and meet different people from other sports.
In what ways did Ashford School help you to pursue your hockey playing?
- Ashford School identified my talent for sport, and through mentoring, 1 to 1 coaching and small group sessions, my technical skills and ability were developed. The scholarship I was awarded also helped my parents financially. To think, I started School not having played hockey, and ended up playing a sport I love internationally!
What advice would you give to budding hockey players, or sportsmen?
- My main pieces of advice for aspiring sports persons would be to aim high and be persistent. Often, it is those who turn up week in and week out, regardless of their situation, that will make the cut. Frequently, athletes drop out after injuries, poor performances or other setbacks, but it is those who continue to fight on that make it through.