Aspiring young hockey players from across the state hit the fields at the Tamworth Hockey Complex on Friday as the annual Regional Challenge got underway.
The opening, and biggest, event on the Hockey NSW calendar, the three-day carnival marks the culmination of the Centre of Development program.
All about development, it is a chance for the 1000 or so under-13s and under-15s players involved in the program to put what they've learnt into practice in a non-competitive environment.
As Armidale's Ella Whitty experienced last year, it is also a chance to learn some new skills, and meet and make new friends.
The 14-year old was part of the Northern Inland Thunderbolts contingent that played in Bathurst and said it is a really fun weekend.
Involved in the sport since she was about four, it was somewhat of a natural progression that she would pick up the stick.
"My mum and dad, and brother all play," Whitty said.
She is a promising goalkeeper after taking up the position a few years ago.
"I saw one of my mum's friends keeping and I thought I want to do that," she explained.
The challenge wraps up on Sunday.
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