Aidan Sarikaya named as Black Stick
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.