Vantage Black Sticks ramp up Olympic preparations with North vs South series

The Vantage Black Sticks players will face their first competitive matches of the year in the countdown to the Tokyo Olympics in a new series next month.

The Sentinel Homes North vs South series will see the country’s top men’s and women’s players go head-to-head on 17, 18 and 20 April in Hamilton in what will double as Olympic trials.

The Black Sticks were scheduled to play Australia in the FIH Hockey Pro League at this time but the matches have been postponed.

Vantage Black Sticks Men’s Head Coach Darren Smith says it will be fantastic to play some high quality hockey.

“The series will not only operate as an Olympic trial with spots on the line for Tokyo but it also gives us a chance to monitor how the next level of talent is tracking for post 2021.”

Two players from the 25-strong men’s national squad are unavailable for the series. Kane Russell has returned to Germany to complete his contract with the Hamburg club until mid-May, and Brad Read will take some time away from hockey after suffering a concussion last month.

“After several previous concussions, our medical team has advised that Brad should have a rest from hockey to mitigate any potential long-term problems. We wish Brad well for his recovery, and will work through finding a replacement for him in the squad,” says Smith.

Vantage Black Sticks Women’s Head Coach Graham Shaw says the players are very excited about the series after training together since January.

“The series will provide the players with a perfect opportunity to test our style of play and the areas we have focused heavily on since the beginning of the year. It will also give us a good marker on how players are tracking as we get closer to selection for Tokyo.”

“Playing three quality games over four days will test not only their field play but their physical conditioning and their ability to perform consistently in a tournament format which we have not done since the Premier Hockey League in November last year.”

The matches will be held at 12.30pm (women) and 2.30pm (men) on the weekend and at 6.30pm (men) and 8pm (women) on the Tuesday. All six matches will be played at St Paul’s Collegiate and broadcast on Sky Sport Next and Sky Sport 9.

A National Under-21 event will be run alongside the Sentinel Homes North vs South series with New Zealand Under-21 men’s and women’s teams named afterwards. Junior World Cups are scheduled in India (men) and South Africa (women) in November and December this year.

Sentinel Homes North vs South Teams:

Men – North: Benji Edwards, Steve Edwards , Connor Greentree, Xavier Guy, George Muir, Charl Ulrich (North Harbour); Leon Hayward (GK), Kim Kingstone, Jared Panchia (Auckland); Tim Neild, Aidan Sarikaya, Nic Woods (Waikato); Dom Dixon (GK), Sean Findlay, Sam Hiha, Shea McAleese, Dylan Thomas (Hawke’s Bay); Nick Wilson (Manawatu).

Men – South: Angus Griffin (GK) (Guest – Manawatu); Jordan Cohen (Wanganui); Stephen Jenness, Dane Lett, Oliver McIntyre, Harry Miskimmin, Jacob Smith, Matt Symonds (Wellington); David Brydon, George Connell, George Enersen (GK), Sam Lane, Joseph Morrison, Dominic Newman (Canterbury); Nick Elder, Hugo Inglis, Nick Ross, Blair Tarrant (Otago).

Women – North: Katie Doar, Ella Gunson, Stacey Michelsen, Brooke Roberts (GK) (Northland); Ella Hyatt-Brown (North Harbour); Kate Ivory, Julia King, Tyler Lench, Grace O’Hanlon (GK), Deanna Ritchie, Liz Thompson, Rose Tynan, Tayla White (Auckland); Tarryn Davey (Thames Valley); Alex Lukin, Alia Jaques (Waikato); Samantha Charlton, Frances Davies, Rose Keddell (Tauranga).

Women – South: Kaitlin Cotter (Hawke’s Bay); Anna Crowley, Casey Crowley, Holly Pearson, Hope Ralph (Taranaki); Georgia Barnett (GK), Michaela Curtis, Steph Dickins, Kayla Whitelock, Olivia Shannon (Manawatu); Megan Hull (Wairarapa); Aniwaka Roberts (Wellington); Kelsey Smith (Nelson); Olivia Merry, Georgie Mackay-Stewart, Catherine Tinning (Canterbury); Tessa Jopp, Ginny Wilson (GK) (Otago).

Please note the north/south divide is different for the men and women to ensure two competitive teams.

Sentinel Homes North vs South Under-21 Teams

Under-21 Men – North: Liam Mortimer (Northland); Luke Buxton, Calum Grassick, Isaac Houlbrooke (North Harbour); Aiden Fraser, Reagan Harnell, Luke Holmes, Joshua Irwin, Brett Menezes, Tilo Seltner-Jones, Daniel Woud (Auckland); Malcolm Curley (Counties Manukau); Luke Aldred, Jacob Soo Choon (Waikato); Connor Garner (Tauranga); Campbell MacLean (Bay of Plenty); Oscar Nation (Hawke’s Bay); Connor Hoskin (Wanganui).

Under-21 Men – South: Luke Elmes (Hawke’s Bay); Patrick Madder (Wanganui); Oliver Bunny (Wairarapa); Joshua White (Horowhenua); Devanand Bhikha, Isaac Dyer, Callum Olsen, Sajan Patel (Wellington); George Baker, Etienne Harrington-Watt, Keeley Legge, Nicholas Lidstone, Jayden Rakowitz, Simon Yorston (Canterbury); Ezekiel Buschl, Zachary Mason, James Nicholson, Finn Ward (Otago).

Under-21 Women – North: Olivia Crum (Northland);Georgia Clement, Sophie Hildesley, Sophie Maxwell, Bridie McCullough (North Harbour); Lucy Bannatyne, Breana Catley, Izzy Gill, Olivia Grigg, Hannah Stewart (Auckland); Rosanna Bedford, Leah Hodges, Sharnae Taylor, Eva Zijlstra (Waikato); Emilie Logan (Tauranga); Hannah Cotter, Rileigh Knapp, Sophie Nation (Hawke’s Bay).

Under-21 Women – South: Alice McIlroy-Foster (Guest – Auckland);Ruby Evans (Guest – Tauranga); Saffron Cribb (Guest – Taranaki); Arabella Sheild (Guest – Hawke’s Bay); Kate Blincoe, Kelly Carline, Madeline Harris (Manawatu); Rebecca Baker (Wanganui); Jessica Kelly (Nelson); Isabella Ambrosius, Emily Baker, Anneka Calder, Hayley Cox, Charlotte Lee, Brittany Wang (Canterbury); Abby Lennon, Jenna-Rae McIntyre (South Canterbury); Ellie Duncan (Central Otago).

  • March 26th, 2021 in
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