The Junior Black Sticks Men’s hockey team to play in June’s Junior (Under 21) World Cup in Singapore and Malaysia will include four current senior Black Sticks, most notably captain Simon Child. Child – just 20, has already amassed 96 tests for the senior Black Sticks and was also nominated for the World Hockey U21 player of the year in 2008. Other senior Blacks Sticks confirmed in the 18 man team include Nick Wilson (Central), Shay Neal (North Harbour) and Blair Hilton (Wellington).
New Zealand’s place in the World Cup was in serious doubt due to a lack of funding, however with their campaign now fully funded by the players and their families – they are confirmed starters. They will depart for Singapore on 1 June and return on 22 June.
The Junior Black Sticks Men will face tough opposition in the form of India and Netherlands in their pool along with Poland and hosts Singapore. They will back themselves to knock Poland and Singapore over but will have to get points from either India or Holland to progress past pool play.
The team performed well in a three test series against Australia in December losing narrowly in two and securing a draw in the 3rd – Australia are one of the favourites at this years World Cup.
The team is in good hands coaching wise with Peter Miskimmin confirmed as Head Coach and current Black Sticks Coach, Shane McLeod and Europe based Andrew Hastie as his assistants.
The Junior Black Sticks Men – 2009 World Cup team: Joseph Bartholomew, Shay Neal, Marcus Child, Simon Child, Devon Manchester, Arun Panchia, Ricky Clarke, Callum Bailey, Nick Wilson, Blair Hilton, Stephen Jennes, Alex Schroder, Alex Shaw, George Connell, Issac Staples, Hugo Inglis, Nick Ross, Blair Tarrant.
Non travelling reserves: Nick Capizzi, Ian Daniels, Tom Lysaght, George Enerson, Richard Bain, Mitch Hayde.
Source: Hockey New Zealand