““Last season was tough but we became a more united squad as a result. We are keen to put Maidenhead back on the map and everyone is really excited to have Mark on board to lead us back to where we want to be.””
Eddie Westacott, Ladies 1s Captain
Maidenhead hockey club is proud to announce that Mark Stuart-Thompson has been signed as the new ladies first team coach.
Mark joins Maidenhead with a wealth of experience having coached the Oxford HC mens 2 team alongside holding the post of ladies club coach, and also coaching at Oxford Brookes University’s ladies first team. His experience also includes being a JRPC lead coach for the junior regional centres and is a regular statistician for national and international competitions, including the recent Women’s World Cup in London.
He will line up alongside the current GB and England captain, Phil Roper who will remain the ladies second team coach for season 2018/19 despite his commitments to both the Mens World Cup at the end of this year and the pro league which begins next January.
Mark’s already begun pre-season training with the ladies section and keen to continue to build off the back of last year. Season 2017/18 was very much a re-building phase after the combined blow of the departure of long-standing player/coach and ex-GB captain Jane Smith, and being relegated from the National league. Maidenhead managed to stay in the South Premier division thanks to the efforts and guidance of Holly Cram and her development of a lot of young, new talent that she introduced into the team.
Commenting on his decision to move to Maidenhead, Stuart-Thompson said: “The biggest attraction for me is the chance to coach at this level and really put all my previous hard work and learning into practise at a more tactical and demanding level.
“I have spoken at length with various members and absolutely share the same ambition as the club to re-establish our strength in the south premier division before returning Maidenhead to national league in the next couple of seasons. It’s not going to be easy and I think we all recognise that. We are on a journey at the moment and it’s one that I’m really excited to be part of. They are giving me a fantastic opportunity to take a team that has a mix of experience and huge potential and it’s my focus to help realise that for them all.”
In terms of approach, Stuart-Thompson has been clear though that it’s not all about him and he’s very much about placing the emphasis and responsibility back on to the players. He is very tactically driven and has a vast understanding of patterns of play and game phases, which will be very present in his approach to training the team to bring about positive results.
Club captain and long-standing Maidenhead first team player, Bex Miall, commented: “Both personally and as the club captain, I am delighted to have Mark join us as our coach. We have had some good discussions and he’s already demonstrated a very ambitious pre-season approach which I’m confident will yield results early on.
Eddie Westacott, another lifetime Maidenhead HC player and this season’s captain, added: “All the players are buzzing since we signed Mark and there is a really positive atmosphere within the whole ladies section. I think he’s going to bring a whole new approach and we hope it will also attract further talent to the club. It’s going to be an exciting season!”
Updated 09:43 - 29 Aug 2018 by Maidenhead Hockey Club