- Credit: Archant
Hockey mad sisters, Leo and Alex Penry from Maidstone, were both chosen to play for Kent this season
Who are you?
We are Leonora (Leo), age 16 and Alexandra (Alex) Penry, age 14, and we live in Bearsted near Maidstone. We both go to Invicta Grammar School.
Tell us about your hockey
Alex: when I was nine I stopped swimming and my parents told me that I had to find another sport. At that time one of my friends went to Maidstone Hockey Club on Sundays, so I went along to try it out. At school we’d only used plastic sticks and aero balls so I had no idea how to play real hockey and when I turned up, it seemed as though I couldn’t do any of the drills.
The next week was about defending and it felt more natural, and I started to really like it. From then onwards, we played mini tournaments and I just loved playing with my team.
Leo: I used to swim for nine hours a week for a local swimming club and then when I was 13 I went to a social event at Maidstone Hockey Club with my sister and I loved the atmosphere. At the end the junior coach, Louise Cassey, who plays for the 1s, asked me if I’d like to come to hockey training the next day. I said yes and for the next year went to hockey alongside swimming. By the end I’d picked up so many extra training sessions that I eventually stopped swimming.
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Alex: I went through the England Hockey Single System, a group of development courses, and tried out for Kent. I didn’t get picked the first time, but I carried on enjoying my hockey and I persisted.
The next year I got through to the Kent U14s team. This year I was picked for the U15’s and I’ve really enjoyed playing with such a great team.
Leo: A year after I started hockey I met the GB player Nikki Kidd at a Club Open day and she said she didn’t start to play hockey until she was 13 and that made me realise that I could still reach a really high level if I put the effort in. We went to the Hockey World Cup in Holland last year and it was really inspiring. This year I went to trials for Kent and was selected to play for the U17’s team. It’s really helped me and now I just want to keep on improving my skills and game play. I love hockey because every match is different, and there are always new goals to set yourself because there are so many new skills to learn.
What are you both doing now?
Leo: I did some of my GCSEs last year and am doing the rest this year. Then I plan to study at Invicta’s sixth form for my A-Levels in Psychology, Biology, History and English Literature. I hope to study History at University.
Alex: I will be doing my GCSEs next year. I want to do my A-Levels in sixth form at Invicta and then hopefully study Chemistry or Computing at university.
Your future ambitions?
Leo: I will be able to get my provisional driving licence later this year so I can’t wait to learn to drive and pass my driving test. We are going to learn how to be umpires soon, and I want to learn about being a hockey coach.
Alex: My team, Maidstone Hockey Club Ladies 1s, was promoted to the East Premier League this season so I want to be ready for the higher level of hockey we will face in September.
What’s best about living in Kent?
Being able to go on walks with our dog, Pip, in the countryside and access to lots of historical buildings to visit such as Dover, Hever and Leeds Castles.
Any other hobbies and interests?
Leo: Sometimes we spend at least eight hours a week training and playing hockey so there’s not a lot of time left over after school work for other hobbies.
Your favourite books?
Alex: My favourite books are The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Lorien Legacies and The 5th Wave.
Leo: I love fantasy and historical novels, as well as non-fiction history books. n