Over sixty young Jersey hockey players will have the opportunity to play the sport throughout the summer this year thanks to the return of a specially created tournament, which begins this week.

The first ‘Deutsche Bank Summer Hockey Sevens’ was launched by the Jersey Hockey Association last year as part of the Deutsche Bank Hockey Development Programme. It was so successful that this year’s tournament has been expanded to involve even more young players. The league will enable boys and girls aged between 10 and 15 in the Island to build on the skills they have gained so far through the Development Programme. They will be split into six mixed seven-a-side teams, each with a maximum of 11 squad players – the Lions, Tigers, Panthers, Cheetahs, Pumas and Leopards.

Starting on Tuesday 27th April between 6.30pm and 8.30pm at Les Quennevais, the tournament will run every Tuesday until 22nd June, with a break for half term. They will play a combination of ‘round robin’ and ‘play-off’ games, with points being awarded each week and the team with the most tournament points at the end of the eight-week long competition being crowned the overall winners.

A number of novice umpires are also to assist with the league, alongside experienced umpires, as part of the Umpire Development Programme.

Mike Tait, organiser of the Deutsche Bank Summer Hockey Sevens, said: ‘The fact that we have had to extend the Summer Sevens tournament by two weeks, with more young people wanting to take part in it than last year, is a reflection of the growing interest in hockey amongst Jersey youngsters. The Deutsche Bank Development Programme does a fantastic job in encouraging budding young players to develop new skills and it is important that they have an opportunity to build on that through competitions like this. Whilst there is a competitive element to it, the emphasis is on enjoying the sport. It should be a valuable tournament for those taking part.’