(Photo: © FIH)

The inclusion of several players currently overseas will see the Black Sticks Women back to full strength for the forthcoming Samsung FIH Champions Trophy in what is still a young and developing team building for the long term.


Black Sticks Women’s Coach, Mark Hager has included several of his key players who are currently overseas, along with those who have clearly made their mark over the three recent test series the team has played in the past four months.


“The 11 test games against Australia, Argentina and India have been key in making the final selection, as these gave some of the younger players the opportunity to stake a claim for the Samsung Champions Trophy team,” says Hager. “These series also made it clear that we need our more experienced players on hand for the next five months as we compete in the three biggest hockey events for our women this year.”


In regards to the overseas players, Hager says he has been able to assess their form from afar by keeping in contact with the respective team coaches. The team will include all players who are currently playing in European leagues – Olympians Kayla Sharland and Emily Naylor, along with Krystal Forgesson, Katie Glynn and Gemma Flynn. Also, Ella Gunson will be included providing she has recovered from her injury by July. Noticeable exceptions to the team include the absence of the more experienced players Kate Saunders, Stacey Carr and Kate Mahon.


“At this stage Kate Saunders has not been selected based on the improved consistency in playing performances from players Talbot, FitzSimons and Douglas. She is on the standby list alongside several other squad members in case of injury. While Kate Mahon has personal commitments in July which preclude her from this selection.”


Stacey Carr is recovering from an ACL injury, and will compete in the 4-Nations Trophy beforehand, but Hager believes the Samsung FIH Champions Trophy will be too demanding at this stage in her recovery.


The Black Sticks Women qualified for the Samsung FIH Champions Trophy by winning the BDO Champions Challenge in Cape Town, South Africa, December 2009. This means they will face the best teams in hockey at present. The other countries competing in the Samsung FIH Champions Trophy are Netherlands (1); Argentina (2); China (3); Germany (4) and England (7). New Zealand is currently ranked 9th.


Hager will be reselecting his BDO FIH World Cup and Commonwealth Games teams, post-Samsung FIH Champions Trophy.


Team New Zealand for Samsung FIH Champions Trophy: Kayla Sharland, Emily Naylor, Krystal Forgesson, Katie Glynn, Piki Hamahona, Ella Gunson, Beth Jurgeleit, Clarissa Eshuis, Lucy Talbot, Sam Harrison, Gemma Flynn, Anna Thorpe, Charlotte Harrison, Bianca Russell, Stacey Michelsen, Natasha Fitzsimons, Laura Douglas, Anita Punt.


Source: Hockey New Zealand