Sam Jimmieson was a stalwart of the Premier Boys’ Hockey team during his time at the College. He has gone on to pursue his dreams of National representation. He reports on his recent tour to Australia with the New Zealand Tiger Turf U18 Men’s Hockey Team:
Hockey New Zealand has, through Sir Owen Glenn and his generosity, established The Sir Owen G. Glenn Future Black Sticks Programme. I have been fortunate enough to have been involved in this fantastic initiative for the past three years.
The NZ Tiger Turf U18 team was selected after the National U18 camp. The team was provided the opportunity to travel to Brisbane Australia for 10 days for a four match series in February 2014 including two Test matches against the Australian Futures Team (U19). Through the generous support of SKOCA, I was able to realise this goal – thank you as it was a life changing experience that I will remember.
It has always been a goal of mine to play against Australian teams as Australia have long been regarded as one of the very top Hockey countries worldwide. The Australian Futures Squad (U19) was an experienced team. Virtually all the squad is based in Perth as part of the Hockey Australia High Performance programme.
After five days of intense training (in 30+degree heat), we pulled on the New Zealand playing strip for the first time – it was a great and proud feeling to be amongst the players wearing the Silver Fern.
We provided the Futures squad a strong challenge and while we lost both games narrowly (5-3 and 5-4), their coaching staff acknowledged we dominated good patches of both games. This was more meritorious given these were the first two games we had played together as a team.
Following this, we played Queensland U21 (National Champions in 2013). We achieved what the teams before us had not and that was to win a game on Australian soil, a 3-1 win over the Queenslanders, a historic moment in which the team and the coaches were over the moon!! On the last day, we played them again (less than 18 hours after the previous game and in 33 degrees and 95% humidity); we succumbed to them but not without a challenge and losing a few kilos in the process!
The tour was widely regarded as a success by the players, management and Hockey NZ. The experience of international travel, meeting and playing very competitive top class teams, the intense training required to compete at this level, and camaraderie of teammates was inspirational. It has certainly given me the desire to attain higher levels with the next target being the Junior Black Sticks!
Thanks again to Saint Kentigern for my Hockey experiences and to SKOCA for your valued support.