Around 100 primary school pupils are set to participate in the annual Deutsche Bank Primary School Hockey Festival this weekend, with a growing number of teams and schools taking part. Taking place at the pitches at Les Quennevais on Saturday 23rd March between 9am and 12.30pm, the tournament forms part of the Jersey Hockey Association’s (JHA) Development programme, which has been sponsored by Deutsche Bank since 2003.

The seven-a-side tournament, designed to give more primary school pupils the opportunity to play hockey, will feature fourteen teams from six different schools. They will compete in two competitions – The Trophy for the more experienced players and The Cup, both played in a ‘round robin’ format.

Schools with teams participating are St Georges School, Victoria College Prep, St Michael's School, Jersey College for Girls, Grouville School and visiting Guernsey school Beechwood.

Presentations to the winning teams and the most promising players taking part in the Festival will be made after the final matches at 12.30pm, with all the pupils receiving a Festival t-shirt. Most of the pupils taking part in the Festival will have enjoyed playing the game at their schools or at coaching sessions organised through the Deutsche Bank Hockey Development Programme.

This Festival aims to give young players an opportunity to perform competitively against boys and girls of similar age range and skills. Sally Le Neveu, Coordinator of the Deutsche Bank Primary Schools Hockey Festival on behalf of the Jersey Hockey Association, said: “The Deutsche Bank Primary School Hockey Festival is always an enjoyable morning of hockey and it is fantastic that we continue to see a growing number of schools and young players taking part. The Festival is all about development and for many of the children this will be their first competitive match and their first time on an astroturf pitch. We want them first and foremost to enjoy the experience of playing hockey so they will want to continue playing in the future – though I suspect there will be some keenly contested matches on Saturday morning.”

Tracy Clarke, Director at Deutsche Bank and who will help present the prizes to the winning teams and individuals, said: “Deutsche Bank has a strong track record of supporting grass roots sports initiatives locally, and the Jersey Hockey Development programme and this Festival are shining examples of that. This event has over the years introduced hundreds of young people to the sport and helped them boost their confidence, improve their sporting technique and develop essential life skills. More than that, though, it has also opened up some exciting opportunities, with some young players progressing to a higher level.”