Spen Flyer Oakes shines for England

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SPEN Valley Flyers roller hockey player Charlie Oakes returned from a recent trip with England after playing in a tournament in Portugal.

Eleven-year-old Charlie was the youngest goalkeeper at the competition but produced a series of impressive displays. He shared the goalkeeping duties and only let in one goal in each of the first three matches.

England’s final game was against the league champions but Oakes did well in the first period to only concede one goal.

He was substituted and by the time he returned for the third 15 minute period England were 5-2 down. However, they fought back well to win 7-6.

Charlie said: “I really enjoyed the experience. We trained twice a day, which was intense and tiring, and then played each evening.

“Roller hockey players start really young in Portugal and the rinks were massive compared to the ones I play on in England.

“I would like to thank Kirklees, who helped with funding, and Dan Messenger my coach at Spen Valley Flyers for his training and I hope to be selected for England again.”

Meanwhile the Spen Valley Flyers club held their first home tournament of the season at Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre when the Under-11s played teams from Halifax, Manchester, Plymouth and Middlesborough.

The squad consisting of goalkeeper Elliott Cosgrove, captain Keiran Constable, Keeley Seward-Sharp, Lily Messenger and Charlie Oakes did well throughout the six-hour tournament.

Spen Valley beat Manchester 6-1 as Constable scored five goals and Messenger the other.

The Flyers then thrashed Middlesborough 11-0 with Constable and Messenger scoring three goals each.Seward-Sharp led the way with four, Oakes also netted and Cosgrove did well to keep a clean sheet.

Spen went one better as they beat Halifax 12-0.

Constable scored five goals, Messenger and Oakes hit two each, Seward-Sharp hit another hat-trick, while Cosgrove kept a second clean sheet.

Constable capped a fine day as he netted another nine as the Flyers beat Plymouth 12-6. Seward-Sharp scored the other three.

Spen Valley Flyers are only a small club but have a great family feel and four other members in addition to Charlie Oakes are training with the England squad in Peterborough.

The Under-11s are top of the table with one draw, all the rest are victories.

New players can turn up to Whitcliffe Mount on Saturdays at 5pm to try the sport for themselves.