Newcastle hockey player Ryan Woolnough is keen to make the most of any opportunity that comes his way with the NSW Pride.
The Norths representative was one of a handful of local stars – alongside Nathan Czinner, Ky Willott, Rory Walker, Mariah Williams, Ellie Baldwin and Estelle Hughes – to gain selection in the state squad for the current JDH Hockey One League season.
NSW, the defending champions in both the men’s and women’s divisions, began its 2023 quest at the weekend in fine style, accounting for the Brisbane Blaze 7-3 and 3-1 respectively at the Queensland State Hockey Centre.
And, while Woolnough missed a berth in the starting side, he’s hoping to play a role at some stage of the competition.
“Personally, I am feeling very excited to be part of the 2023 Pride campaign,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to gaining some valuable experience from training and playing with some of the best players in the country… and even the world.
“There is a lot of excitement and anticipation around the NSW camp from all the guys, most of whom played the past two seasons and are desperate to win three titles in a row, which would be an incredible achievement.
“So, whatever I can take away from this is a bonus.”
It was Woolnough’s team-mate and Lake Macquarie striker Willott who continued his brilliant form for the Pride, scoring in the 28th minute.
Tim Brand and captain Jack Hayes each posted doubles, with Tom Craig and Blake Grovers also putting their names on the scoresheet.
Goalkeeper Ash Thomas was scintillating, too, denying Brisbane numerous opportunities and earning himself Player of the Match bragging rights.
For the Blaze, Jacob Anderson hit the back of the net, twice, as did Corey Weyer.
The women’s team shone as well, with Hunter product Williams leading by example in front of 1,600 fans.
Goals went to Laura Reid (two) and Grace Stewart, with Madison Fitzpatrick the lone scorer for Brisbane.
NSW now faces Hockey Club (HC) Melbourne at the Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre on Sunday 22 October.
In what promises to be two enthralling contests, the female visitors will be chock full of confidence following their win over Adelaide Fire while their male counterparts are smarting after a shock loss to the Fire, who snared its inaugural victory since the inception of the Hockey One competition in 2019.
The women kick off at 1.30pm followed by the men at 3pm.
- Women’s team: 1. Alice Arnott, 7. Laura Reid, 8. Greta Hayes, 10. Chelsea Holmes, 12. Grace Jeffrey (gk), 13. Sarah Johnston, 14. Makayla Jones, 16. Alana Kavanagh, 20. Kaitlin Nobbs, 24. Maddison Smith, 25. Emma Spinks, 27. Kendelle Tait, 30. Mariah Williams (c), 31. Abby Wilson, 32. Grace Young
Ins: 10. Chelsea Holmes, 12. Grace Jeffrey (gk)
Outs: 3. Jocelyn Bartram (gk), 26. Grace Stewart
- Men’s team: 1. Lachlan Sharp, 2. Tom Craig, 5. Ash Thomas (gk), 7. Daine Richards, 8. Nathanael Stewart, 9. Nathan Czinner, 13. Blake Govers, 14. Dylan Martin, 15. Miles Davis, 19. Jack Hayes (c), 20. Ky Willott, 22. Flynn Ogilvie, 28. Sam Gray, 29. Tim Brand, 32. Callum Mackay
Ins: 1. Lachlan Sharp
Outs: 34. Thomas Miotto
2023 JDH Hockey One League
Round three draw:
Friday 20 October
- Tassie Tigers v Perth Thundersticks (Tasmanian Hockey Centre)
- Start times: Women’s 6.30pm (AEDT), Men’s 8pm (AEDT)
Saturday 21 October
- Adelaide Fire v Canberra Chill (MATE Stadium)
- Start times: Women’s 7pm (AEDT), Men’s 8.30pm (AEDT)
Sunday 22 October
- NSW Pride v HC Melbourne (Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre)
- Start times: Women’s 1.30pm (AEDT), Men’s 3pm (AEDT)
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