Hockey: A first time for everything it seems at University of Ulster
There's a first time for everything.
That seems to be the motto at the University of Ulster Jordanstown (UUJ) this season.
Already the students have experienced quite a few firsts this year.
Their first Argentina player, Florencia Blanco, arrived to boost the first XI squad.
The 18-year-old from San Isidro just outside the capital Buenos Aries is taking time out of her studies to play for the university team until Christmas at least.
Then a couple of weeks ago the club fielded a third XI side for the first time in its history.
Last Sunday saw another first for UUJ as they proudly watched their new Under-14 team compete in the Ulster Women's Hockey Union U14 League.
This is an admirable achievement for all involved as the club largely depends upon students attending the University.
The Under-14 squad has turned out to be a product of the hard work put into sports outreach at the university.
The Ladies Hockey Club started their UUJ Hockey Academy last season spearheaded by Lynn Handley and Alix Jackson, which mainly involved a course of coaching sessions.
Alix and Lynn, graduates of the University of Ulster, are both P.E. teachers at nearby Glengormley High School.
They are both naturally delighted at the progress.
Lynn said: "The UUJ Hockey Academy was a great success from the start, and all the children and parents wanted to be involved in regular matches as well as the coaching sessions, so we simply had to deliver."
Like Lynn, Alix is keen to see the squad go from strength to strength and stressed the importance of having extra hockey sessions for school children at this age.
She said: "I only get about one hour of hockey practice with any one age group during the teaching week, so opportunities such as the UUJ Hockey Academy is ideal to get the girls practising a bit more."
Anyone interested in joining forces with the club can get more information at www.uuhockey.net
The website includes information on the UUJ Hockey Academy and the U14 league results.