By Gary Caffell

Two ex-Wairarapa College players have been included in the Black Sticks women’s hockey squad for next month’s test series against Malaysia in Taranaki.

Felicity Reidy was part of the Kiwi line-up which scored a memorable 2-1 series win over Australia at the Ford Trans-Tasman Trophy but for Megan Hull this will be her very first appearance for her country at senior level.

She is currently in Chile as part of the New Zealand team contesting the Women’s Junior World Cup.

From Pongaroa, Hull is now studying for a Bachelor of Communications majoring in public relations and agribusiness at Waikato University.

Hockey has always been her favourite sport.

She first became involved in it at the tender age of four and has been a stellar performer at age group levels practically ever since.

Hull was part of Wairarapa College teams which won the country’s premier inter-school tourney, the Federation Cup in 2011 and were runners-up in 2012.

She was named in the New Zealand under-18 side from 2011-14 and last season she played for the national under-21 Future Black Sticks in the Netherlands where they crossed swords with not only the home nation but also England, Germany, India and China.

Wairarapa College teacher Willie Schaefer coached both Hull and Reidy while they were in that school’s first XI and he always believed they had the potential to the reach the very top echelons of the sport.

Schaefer recalls defender Hull as being a player who thrived on the more physical aspects of the game and who was never far from the centre of action.

“She got through a stackload of work, she would go all game.

“And she was a quick learner, she had good skills from a young age.”

As for striker Reidy, Schaefer said she too was always prepared to do the hard yards, both in training and on the field of play, and combined a good turn of speed with the ability to find the net on a regular basis.

“She was a prolific goal scorer at college, and still is.”

All told Black Sticks head coach Mark Hager has named 12 debutantes for the five tests with Malaysia to be played at the TET Multisports Centre in Stratford from December 12 to 18.

From the squad of 22 players, none have played more than 100 tests with striker Samantha Harrison the most experienced with 96 caps while Kirsten Pearce is the sole representative from the Rio Olympic team.

Hager said the time is right to continue the evolution of the Black Sticks group with the Tokyo Olympic Games looming in four years.

“The players selected for this series are with an eye to the future and maintaining competition for positions will continue to develop depth within our playing group,” he said.

“Malaysia will be a good challenge for this group as they have shown excellent progress over 2016.

“To be able to provide an opportunity for 12 debutantes is exciting and builds on our philosophy post Rio of providing opportunity for the wider group.”

The tests against Malaysia on Monday, December 12, Tuesday, December 13 and Thursday, December 15 will all commence at 6.30pm with the Saturday, December 17 match starting at at 3pm and that on Sunday, December 18 at 1pm.

The full squad is: Jess Anderson (Canterbury), Michaela Curtis (Central), Tarryn Davey (Midlands), Frances Davies (Midlands), Maddie Dowe (Auckland), Natasha Fitzsimons (Midlands), Erin Goad (North Harbour), Sam Harrison (Auckland), Megan Hull (Midlands), Alia Jacques (Midlands), Rachel McCann (Canterbury),
Pippa Norman (Central), Kirsten Pearce (North Harbour), Felicity Reidy (Capital), Deanna Ritchie (Auckland), Brooke Roberts (North Harbour), Amy Robinson (Midlands), Phoebe Steele (Canterbury), Jenny Storey (Canterbury), Kim Tanner (Midlands), Catherine Tinning (Canterbury), Ginny Wilson (Southern).