Southland pair make Junior Black Sticks

BRENDON EGAN
Last updated 05:00 03/10/2012

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Two former Southlanders have been selected in the Junior Black Sticks men's hockey team for an international tournament in Malaysia next month.

Central midfielder Nick Elder, who played his junior hockey with Riversdale, and striker Jeremy Morris, who represented Gore-Mataura growing up, are the first players from the region in many years to make the national side.

The duo, who are both aged 19, shifted to Dunedin to attend high school, and were members of this year's Southern men's team, which made the final of the National Hockey League.

The Junior Black Sticks will compete in the Sultan of Johor Cup tournament from November 11 to 18, which will also feature under-21 teams from Pakistan, India, Australia, Germany, and host nation, Malaysia.

It is an important tournament for the players in the Junior Black Sticks, as they will be looking to make an impression on the coaches, ahead of next year's Junior Men's World Cup.

Junior Black Sticks assistant coach Dave Ross, who also coaches the Southern men, said the Elder and Morris deserved their place in the 18-man squad and were players to watch out for in the future. He believes both are capable of being part of the Black Sticks senior men's team for the 2016 or 2020 Olympic campaigns if they kept improving over the next few years.

"Nick has got a good skillset and stays composed on the ball. He's chugging along really well and is starting to develop more power in his game," Ross said.

"Jeremy is a very fast player and very elusive. On his day, he can score some really good goals."

Southland will be hoping to have another player in a national age-group team with Dayna Holland in contention to make the final squad for the New Zealand under-18 women's team.

Meanwhile, the Southland under-15 boys' team recovered from an opening day loss to Waikato, to beat Hawke's Bay 3-2, at their national tournament in Napier yesterday.

Kale Adamson continued his bright start to the tournament, scoring two goals with Jesse Murphy adding another. They take on Canterbury in their next game today.

The Southland under-15 girls' team lost to Auckland 6-2, after trailing 3-0 at halftime. Auckland's Tyler Lench had a game to remember, scoring five goals. Southland's goals came from penalty corners, with Lydia Shirley and Kim Allan finding the back of the net. Southland have another difficult test today - they play hosts North Harbour.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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