There will be a strong contingent of Crookwell residents at the upcoming Australian Indoor Hockey Festival, following the news that ten locals have been named in ACT and NSW sides.
The festival, which will take place in Wollongong in January, will see Harry Skelly (ACT), Jesse Croker (NSW), Bella Croker (NSW), Josh Evans (ACT), Sam McGregor (ACT), Jacob McGregor (ACT), Zac McGregor (ACT), Eliza Kemp (ACT), Holly Evans (ACT), Jayde Della (ACT), Brad Smith (NSW) and George Lee (ACT, shadow) take part.
Crookwell Indoor Hockey sub-committee president, Meghan McGregor, expressed her pleasure at the number of Crookwell representatives in state sides.
"We're immensely proud of the history of hockey in our area, and the fact that it's continuing even though we don't have a standalone association," McGregor said.
"It's reward for people who are committed to Crookwell hockey growing the numbers."
McGregor, who is also the mother of Sam, Zac, and Jacob, said she was "really pleased with how they're developing as players."
The ACT and NSW sides consistently put forward strong performances at the festival, and McGregor is confident that the junior ACT sides can have an impact.
"I think that the Under 13s ACT team has a really good opportunity, I think that their core players are very strong," she said.
"It'll be interesting to see how it's coached and what presses and strategies they use, because at these ages consistency is the key."
Della is arguably the most experienced of the Crookwell players at representative level, and will join the ACT Under 21s side.
Playing in her fifth festival, the 2020 edition will be a different experience for Della, who is returning from a year away from hockey.
"I'm getting pretty confident now going into January. I've been training a lot," Della said.
"I haven't picked up a stick since last year ... [because] I took up league tag, so I was busy doing that [in 2019]. I had a bit of a break from hockey and played football instead."
It has become more common in recent years for high-level athletes to take a break from sport, and Della has returned from her hiatus feeling refreshed and confident about the ACT's chances.
"We're looking for the gold medal this year ... we have a very good side," she said.
The Crookwell players will make up part of a larger contingent from the Goulburn District Hockey Association, which boasts over 30 players from the region in NSW and ACT teams.
The Australian Indoor Hockey Festival will take place in Wollongong at the Illawarra Hockey Stadium.
It will get underway with the Open Divisions from January 4-7, which will be followed by the Under 21s from January 9-12, the Under 18s from January 13-16, the Under 13s from January 18-21, and will wrap up with the Under 15s from January 22-26.
For more information or scores during the tournament, please visit the Hockey Australia website.