Hockey: Black Sticks to miss Northland sisters' 276-game input

By David Leggat

Black Sticks veteran Charlotte Harrison has been left out of the international team. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Black Sticks veteran Charlotte Harrison has been left out of the international team. Photo / Brett Phibbs

For the first time in a long period, there's no one called Harrison in the Black Sticks women's squad for the next year.

Northland sisters Charlotte and Samantha Harrison have racked up 183 and 93 caps respectively. However, 22-year-old Samantha made herself unavailable for the squad, and is playing in Belgium at present.

Charlotte, two years older, an eight-year veteran of the team and with 50 goals among the alltime scoring leaders for New Zealand, has been omitted on form.

"Over the last 12 months we've felt the younger players have caught up and started to move in the right direction for us," New Zealand women's coach Mark Hager said yesterday. "Charlotte has plateaued a little and we believe it's time to give an opportunity to some of the other players."

Hager said she remains in the national development group and conceded she took the news hard, "as you'd expect.

But you'd be disappointed if it didn't mean anything to them".

The men's and women's squads named yesterday will go through to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Two key figures in the women's team, striker Katie Glynn and Stacey Michelsen, will be missing from the Oceania Cup in Stratford at the end of next month and the World League finals in Argentina in December, as they recover from long-term knee injuries. Michelsen hopes to be running by late next month and back playing early next year; the prolific goalscorer Glynn is expected back in April.

Experienced defender Emily Naylor will also be missing for the Argentine trip for personal reasons. The upside is the chance to deepen the pool of experience.

Two 19-year-olds, Auckland defender Elizabeth Thompson and Canterbury striker Sophie Cocks, get their chance in the squad of 26, while North Harbour defender Rhiannon Dennison, 20, is recalled.

National men's coach Colin Batch welcomes back classy attackers Simon Child and Nick Wilson, along with seasoned midfielder Steve Edwards, while North Harbour defender Joseph Bartholomew is promoted after a fine national league.

- NZ Herald

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