A Caistor teenager is all set to represent her country at ice hockey later this summer – less than two years after first hitting a puck in anger.
Martha Cornell will play for England Girls’ Under 14s at an international tournament in Finland after impressing selectors at a series of trials.
The Caistor Grammar School pupil begins training this week and will jet off for Helsinki with the squad on August 20.
“It has been really hard work especially off the ice,” Martha said. “The England coaches are really strict and work us really hard, but I’ve enjoyed the challenge and it has all been worth it.
“I couldn’t believe it when I got the letter to say I’d been picked; I was so happy as I love playing ice hockey and can’t wait to go to Finland.”
Martha’s love for the ice rink began as a figure skater at Grimsby where she practiced for six years.
But she plumped for a change of pace in October 2014 after hearing Grimsby Ice Hockey Club were on the lookout for new talent.
There she joined her younger brother Isaac (11) who has played for the club since he was four.
After showing potential in her debut season in defence, Martha was asked to transfer to Sheffield Ice hockey Academy last August.
The 13-year-old recently completed a highly fruitful first season with the famous Steel City club which saw her under 13s team win the North Division title.
They then added victory at a tournament in Sheffield, beating teams from Solent, Gosport, Oxford and Milton Keynes, to be crowned the national champions.
Martha was first invited to try out for England girls last October and went on to a total of five trials through to February.
From there she progressed, with 38 other girls, to the England School of Excellence for a week-long intensive training camp during the May half-term school holidays at Hull Ice Arena.
The gruelling routine included four hours per day on the ice, as well as off-ice testing, but Martha’s reward for her toil was a place in the England squad.
Proud mum Sam said: “To see how far she has come in such a short time has been a joy to watch.
“Martha is a very determined girl and always does the best she can at all she puts her mind to. Being picked for England is just a dream come true.”