Standouts aim for State selection

MOST hockey players are enjoying the off season but three Bathurst premier league standouts are still in full training, aiming to make the cut for the 2012 NSW under 18 team.

Not only will the Bathurst stars be representing their state, they will be doing it on home turf as the national tournament will be held in Bathurst in April.

Esther Hotham, Keely Hunter and Jessica Watterson are part of the 35-member squad and vying for a place, the first cull will be made in January and the team announced in February.

Bathurst City player Hotham and Souths Hunter were both in the side last year and with their performances in the national competition should be selected again, but for Watterson this is the first time she has been included.

Watterson is just 15 years old and due to her performance in the winning under 15 NSW side, was promoted to the squad.

“I wasn’t excepting to be named in the squad, so it is pretty exciting,” she said.

“I know it will be tough, but I am hoping that I perform well in the trials and hopefully get picked in the side, having Keely and Esther both there will be good because knowing people always helps.”

Both Watterson and Hotham learnt of their inclusion in the squad via the internet, Hotham was told by her dad as he was looking up the NSW site and Watterson got messages of congratulations on Facebook.

“Dad told me about two months ago that I was in the squad. Right now I am focused on the December Futures Camp, but after that I will be aiming on the 18s side,” Hotham said.

“I really want to make the 18 team again, but am not over confident because each year there are new waves of girls coming through. I will keep working on my fitness because that is a big thing for me, and hopefully I will again be named in the side.”

Centre manager of the Bathurst hockey complex Owen Brown said hosting one of the major NSW events is not only good for Bathurst, but for the sport. “Last year we had a big year with the under 17 NSW boys and the full vets state carnival, having three turfs means we are one of the towns considered every year for major tournaments,” Mr Brown said.

“NSW hockey asked if we would like to hold the 2012 under 18 competition and we jumped at the chance.”

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