Tamworth and New England players enjoy National U15s Hockey Championship success

Top talent: The Tamworth contingent involved in the recent National U15s Championships, which included a former Kookaburra and Hockeyroo.
Top talent: The Tamworth contingent involved in the recent National U15s Championships, which included a former Kookaburra and Hockeyroo.

Tamworth and New England talent have shared in National U15s Hockey Championship success on and off the field.

New England’s Jake McCann and Nathan Czinner and Tamworth’s Noah Pitt won gold with their NSW State boys side, while Billie Mitchell’s (Tamworth) State girls side prevailed 2-1 over a Blues side containing New England’s Lily Neilson and Chelsea Thornton and Tamworth’s Lori Edgar to claim the bronze medal. 

The boys State side coached by Tamworth’s Richard Willis and Matt Liles also won 2-1 in their gold medal play-off against Victoria.

McCann put NSW ahead in the 13th minute with his seventh goal of what was a sterling tournament for the young striker.

Newcastle’s Seb Rollings finished as the top-scorer thanks to a haul of nine goals.

Czinner, who was captain of the side, was named player of the tournament. 

Victoria hit back in the final minute of the first half, but NSW reclaimed the lead four minutes into the second half.

The Blues side, which Tamworth’s Nick O’Connor played for and New England’s Ben Hanlan was assistant coach of, finished fifth after beating Queensland 2 in their play-off game 5-3.

In the girls bronze play-off, the State side led 1-nil at half-time and extended that to two in the 54th minute, but the Blues, who were coached by former Hockeyroo Kate Jenner, replied in the 60th minute to keep the pressure on to the final whistle.

Neilson had her radar on scoring eight goals for the tournament including four in the first game to be the Blues’ top goal-scorer and second overall. Tamworth’s Martin Courtney was also the boys tournament director, while former Kookaburras captain Michael York was assistant coach of the ACT boys.