The outstanding goal scoring form of Northland 16-year-old Charlotte Harrison has been recognised with her inclusion in the New Zealand women’s team to meet Australia in the Oceania Cup later this month.
Harrison is in fifth form at Whangarei Girls High School and is believed to be the youngest women’s player selected for the national team. She is the only new cap in the side.
The three-test series starting in Auckland on Sunday, 30 October, will act as a qualifying event for the 2006 women’s Samsung hockey World Cup. The winner will gain direct entry into the tournament in Madrid, Spain, next September/October.
Harrison was one of the leading scorers in this year’s New Zealand National Hockey League, with five goals.
Black Sticks coach Ian Rutledge said Harrison had been selected in recognition of her goal scoring potential and for her pace and skill level.
Rutledge has also made several other interesting additions to his latest team, bringing in several experienced players to balance the mix of youth and experience. The players have not played for New Zealand this year, but have shown outstanding form in the National Hockey League which finished on Sunday.
The first, Canterbury midfielder Michelle Hollands (nee Turner), returns to top level hockey after having a baby. Hollands (31), returned to provincial hockey this year for the Cats.
“Hollands brings a hard nosed, level headedness to the side and will add stability to the midfield,” Rutledge said.
Rutledge brings further experience and tenacity to his half line with the second inclusion of another Sydney Olympian, Caryn Paewai, who has played 110 games for New Zealand. She was unavailable for selection earlier this year but was voted Most Valuable Women’s Player of the NHL.
Central striker Moira Senior (also a Sydney Olympian) top penalty corner striker Niniwa Roberts-Lang return after injury layoffs. Roberts-Lang was the top goal scorer in the NHL.
Diana Weavers is another making a return from injury. She has not played for New Zealand this year, but with 156 caps, she will bring experience to the defence alongside Clarissa Eshuis and Lizzy Igasan.
Rutledge said the team was the culmination of a period of player development and described it as the most exciting team he had named.
The first Test will be played at Lloyd Elsmore Hockey Stadium, Auckland at 13:15 on Sunday, 30 October. Matches two and three will be played in Sydney on 3 and 5 November.
Australia, like New Zealand returned this month from competing at the Indira Gandhi tournament.
The Hockeyroos won the tournament, defeating India on strokes in the final after the score was tied 2-2 at full-time.
Australia are unbeaten in 2005 following their North American tour in June, a six-match series against Korea in August and the Indira Gandhi tournament.
The Black Sticks, the 2005 Champions Challenge champions, finished a disappointing fourth at the Indira Gandhi Tournament in New Delhi earlier this month, but the side was a developmental one which included three debutantes and 11 players with less than 20 caps.
New Zealand Women - Black Sticks
Stacey Carr (Canterbury) 50 Caps
Honor Dillon (Canterbury) 21 Caps
Clarissa Eshuis (Canterbury) 11 Caps
Krystal Forgesson (Auckland) 5 Caps
Charlotte Harrison (Northland) 0 Caps
Michelle Hollands (Canterbury) 83 Caps
Lizzy Igasan (North Harbour) 76 Caps
Beth Jurgeleit (Wellington) 26 Caps
Frances Kreft (Auckland) 19 Caps
Suzie Muirhead (Wellington) 222 Caps
Emily Naylor (Central) 45 Caps
Meredith Orr (Canterbury) 79 Caps
Caryn Paewai (Central) 110 Caps
Niniwa Roberts-Lang (Wellington) 101 Caps
Moira Senior (Central) 112 Caps
Kayla Sharland (Central) 62 Caps
Anita Wawatai (Central) 15 Caps
Diana Weavers (Midlands) 156 Caps
Coach: Ian Rutledge
Assistant Coach: Chris Leslie
Manager: Kay Noakes
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