Five Tamworth teams right at home for U11 carnival

TAMWORTH Hockey Association has five teams entered in this weekend’s Michael York Cup/Kim Small Shield junior hockey carnival and New England three.

While winning is an important part of the weekend equation, it is not the main focus for the Under 11 tournament that has attracted teams from Sydney, Newcastle, the North Coast and Dubbo –  the main focus is development.

Carnival organiser Graeme McKenzie highlighted that fact in the carnival notes for coaches and managers.

“The theme for the weekend and the carnival is all about development,” McKenzie said.

“Development of our junior players, junior umpires and coaches.

“To achieve this, we need to create the right atmosphere in the carnival where everyone can enjoy themselves.

“The coaches, managers and the parents are instrumental in achieving this important outcome.”

Six teams are drawn to play in the York Cup A Division – Sydney 1, Newcastle 1, Tamworth Frogs, Grafton 1, Sydney 2 and Western.

Five teams are entered in the  first pool of the B Division – Dubbo, Port Macquarie, New England, Sydney 3, Newcastle –  while five are entered in the B Division’s second pool – Grafton 2, Central Coast, Tamworth White, Manning Valley and Canberra Bunyips.

Six teams will contest the Kim Small Shield A Division – North Shore 1, Tamworth Green, Sydney 1, Newcastle, Western and Grafton Red.

Six teams make up the first pool of the Kim Small Shield B Division – Sydney 2, Tamworth Red, New England Sky, Dubbo Blue, Central Coast Maroon and Manning Valley – with another six in the second pool of B Division – Tamworth Blue, North Shore 2, Central Coast Blue, Dubbo White, New England Royal.

Tamworth hockey stalwart Denby Budden is coaching the young Tamworth White boys’ side in the B Division.

“Unfortunately I’ve been away for a month (at the World Cup in the Netherlands),” Budden said.

“They haven’t been getting the learning experience we’d have liked.”

He has a young side too, a team made up of eight, nine and 10-year-olds.

It is a side full of hockey pedigree though.

Many of the side are younger brothers of talented junior stars who have competed in the York Cup in recent years.

“They have shown a lot of improvement the last couple of weeks,” Budden said.

“Hopefully they will come out of the matches much better players.

Littlejohns is coaching the Tamworth Frogs in the A Division.

Tamworth Whites (left) and Frogs (right) line up at a training  session on Tuesday before Friday’s start to the annual York Cup/Small Shield weekend. Whites (left of the halfway line) (front from left) Jock Smith, Fergus O’Callaghan, Riley King (middle from left) Rory Littlejohns, Duncan McAdam, Hayden Constable, Joe Briggs (back from left) Matthew Holmes, Will Jarrett, Ben O’Connor, William Ash. Tamworth Frogs (right of the halfway line) (front from left) Lachlan Murray, Joe Mitchell, Bailey Jamieson, Chris Taggart (middle from left) Jack Hamilton, Nick  O’Connor, Bill Tydd, Oliver McGill, Tom Littlejohns, Kurt Barton (back from left) Lachlan Perry, Ryan Taggart, Will Burnett.  Photo: Gareth Gardner  010714GGD01

Tamworth Whites (left) and Frogs (right) line up at a training session on Tuesday before Friday’s start to the annual York Cup/Small Shield weekend. Whites (left of the halfway line) (front from left) Jock Smith, Fergus O’Callaghan, Riley King (middle from left) Rory Littlejohns, Duncan McAdam, Hayden Constable, Joe Briggs (back from left) Matthew Holmes, Will Jarrett, Ben O’Connor, William Ash. Tamworth Frogs (right of the halfway line) (front from left) Lachlan Murray, Joe Mitchell, Bailey Jamieson, Chris Taggart (middle from left) Jack Hamilton, Nick O’Connor, Bill Tydd, Oliver McGill, Tom Littlejohns, Kurt Barton (back from left) Lachlan Perry, Ryan Taggart, Will Burnett. Photo: Gareth Gardner 010714GGD01

“They are a pretty enthusiastic bunch,”  Littlejohns said  at Tuesday’s training session.

“They are up against some pretty strong sides from Sydney and Canberra but they’ve all been training strongly.”

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