Ipswich talent sets the state standard
AFTER a long and successful representative hockey season, Ipswich regional coaching director Neil Shearer is looking forward to a deserved holiday.
However, he can spend some time with his family satisfied with what Ipswich hockey juniors achieved this season.
Fifteen players from under-13 to under-18 made a state team, squad or development side in recent months. A number of players shared in state titles successes, earning selection for national championships.
Among regional players involved in recent national titles were Caleb McCoombes, Byron Davies, Thomas Picton and Kelly McNamara (under 13), and under-15 duo Jay Pavitt and Ryan Smith.
The Queensland under-13 girls came second in Perth, with the under-13 boys fourth in Nowra and the under-15 boys third (Adelaide).
While thrilled to see regional talented recognised, Shearer said it was most pleasing receiving favourable comments about the style of play Ipswich teams have adopted.
Working with experienced coaches like Rodger Grulke and Ken McCoombes, Shearer has implemented formulas to bring out the best in players.
Ipswich's under-13 boys team led the way, winning back-to-back state titles this year.
Ipswich's under-15 boys came third and the city's under-15 girls team showed promise for the future in coming fifth.
"It's very pleasing hearing comments from the hierarchy of Hockey Queensland and QAS that the Ipswich teams had the best structure in the competition," Shearer said.
"There's always room for improvement but they are great comments to have."
Shearer said the number of regional players progressing to higher ranks showed they had fine qualities.
"They are very willing to learn and take things on board," Shearer said. "I rate them very highly."
While national titles were recently played, a group of Ipswich players also contested development tours in Grafton. They included Layla Eleison, Mitchell Moran, Lauren Hess and Emily Witheyman-Crump.
Shearer was head coach for the Queensland development sides which helped players on the fringe of state selection.
"It (the development tour) is a good stepping stone," Shearer said.
"Hopefully, Layla and Mitchell, who were under-15s, can make the Queensland 15s next year.
"Lauren and Emily were 12-year-olds this year so hopefully they'll move up to the under-13 state side next year."
- Ipswich junior hockey players who made state or development teams this season.
- U/18 squad 2013: Carly Young, Natalie Davison, Kyah Andrew-Sharrad, Jarrod Brown, Josh Davies.
- U/15 boys: Jay Pavitt, Ryan Smith.
- U/13 girls: Kelly McNamara.
- U/13 boys: Caleb McCoombes, Byron Davies, Thomas Picton.
- Qld Development teams U/15: Layla Eleison, Mitchell Moran. U/13: Lauren Hess, Emily Witheyman-Crump.