Ai­dan Sarikaya named as Black Stick

Hauraki Herald - - SPORT - JILL CLEAVE

He’s been seen on the Ngatea hockey turf with a stick in his hands from the age of three, now Ai­dan Sarikaya is play­ing for the New Zealand Black Sticks.

Sarikaya’s great aunt Lor­raine Hay­ward, who was the first New Zealand hockey rep­re­sen­ta­tive player to come out of the Val­ley, said she re­calls his early days on the turf.

‘‘We are so proud of him, he has only just re­turned from play­ing hockey in Europe, we are thrilled for him,’’ she said.

Sarikaya joins Lloyd Stephen- son, who has over 100 caps and Tar­ryn Davey, all home grown hockey play­ers who be­gan their ca­reers on the Thames Val­ley hockey turf.

Black Sticks men’s head coach Dar­ren Smith said Sarikaya has been de­vel­op­ing well through the tal­ent sys­tem and with Mid­lands for some time.

‘‘He gets his chance af­ter a strong Ju­nior World Cup late last year and has car­ried that mo­men­tum into his hockey this year,’’ he said.

The Black Sticks are cur­rently in Aus­tralia where they have played two tests against the Kook­abur­ras, who are ranked num­ber two in the world, and are tak­ing part in the In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val of Hockey in Mel­bourne.

Un­for­tu­nately the team were de­feated in both tests, the first 4-0 and the sec­ond, af­ter lift­ing their game, by 2-0.

Be­tween Novem­ber 8 and 12 they will take on Aus­tralia, Japan and Pak­istan in the fes­ti­val.

Thames Val­ley Hockey have fielded a rep­re­sen­ta­tive team in ev­ery age cat­e­gory with the highlight be­ing the U15 team gain­ing sil­ver at the Na­tion­als and Tar­ryn and Ai­dan be­ing se­lected for the Van­tage Black Sticks.

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