Cooloola Heats’ Nathan Stephens was selected for the second time in the Wide Bay school hockey side along with five other Gympie students.
Cooloola Heats’ Nathan Stephens was selected for the second time in the Wide Bay school hockey side along with five other Gympie students. Craig Warhurst

Gympie hockey stocks rise

THERE were smiles all round Gympie hockey circles Wednesday as the news spread that six boys had been selected in the Open Wide Bay School boys’ side.

Nathan Stephens, Jordon Warhurst, Drew Wenzel, Joey Collins, Clancy Adams and Patrick Barnes were picked in the side.

Gympie Hockey Association president Ian Wenzel said it had been a long road back for Gympie hockey and the centre was starting to get itsjust desserts.

He said the boys’ team was undefeated at the Wide Bay trials and was unlucky not to get more players in the side as well as the girls.

The Cooloola side, coached by James Nash State High School teacher Peter Chatman, played their first game against Bundaberg and set about demolishing Bundy 5-0, impressing Bundaberg and state coach Craig Martin.

Their second game was against Fraser Coast and the team scored early to lead by one goal.

Missed chances stopped them extending their lead and Fraser Coast scored on the hooter to level the game.

All but two Gympie players were selected in the possible, probable match. Wenzel said the result was proof in the pudding of the improvement of Gympie hockey.

“To have six selections from Gympie in any Wide Bay Secondary sports team is an outstanding achievement,” Wenzel said.

“The Bundaberg coach came up to the Gympie boys after their game and congratulated them on the way they had played and commented how much hockey had improved in Gympie over the last few years.

“We used to go to the trials and get walloped by Bundaberg and Maryborough- it was nice to wallop Bundaberg for once,” he said.

Wenzel said the introduction of the Heat side to Gympie hockey was the catalyst that has improved the skills of its players.

“The boys get tough competition week in and week out and learn to play against men, so when they come up against kids in their own age group they are a lot more confident,” he said.

Wenzel said the reintroduction of the men’s competition in Gympie was another step in rebuilding the game and gave kids not quite up to Heat standard a place to improve there skills and strength to improve Gympie hockey.

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