Siblings set to take on world cup

By Gary Caffell


The van Woerkom family from Featherston will have a big say in how the New Zealand Junior Black Sticks men's and women's hockey teams fare at the Oceania World Cup qualifying tournament in Brisbane this week.

Ben van Woerkom, 20, was part of the original selection for the men's team and sister Katherine,18, was called into the women's squad last Wednesday after another player withdrew through injury.

Their mother Carol van Woerkom told the Times-Age that Katherine was "shocked" when told she would be required to make the trip across the Tasman.

"She had no idea she was even in the reckoning," Mrs van Woerkom said. "She got the call on Wednesday, flew to Auckland Friday and onto Brisbane on Sunday. Everything happened so fast it took a while to sink in."

Her late call-up makes up for the disappointment felt by Katherine when she was unable to play for the Capital under-21s at their national tournament after suffering a stress fracture in a foot, an injury which meant she could not push her claims for Junior Blacks selection.

Once she recovered from that injury, however, the then-Wairarapa College student made every post a winner, starring for the Capital under-18s at their nationals and being selected as part of the New Zealand Tiger Turf under-18s squad which played a four-test series against the United States under-21s in Auckland.

Playing mostly as central defender Katherine had the distinction of being chosen as New Zealand's most valuable player overall and was also named player of the match in the last of the four games, three of which were won by the United States.

She also performed outstandingly for Wairarapa College when they were runners-up at the Federation Cup national secondary schoolgirls tournament at Clareville.

Just who Katherine will play her club hockey for in 2013 has yet to be confirmed but she will be based in Wellington where is studying at Victoria University.

Also in the Junior Black Sticks women's squad in Brisbane is another former Wairarapa College player Felicity Reidy.

Tournament draw

Tomorrow: New Zealand men v Papua New Guinea, Australia men v Vanuatu, New Zealand women v Australia.

Thursday: Papua New Guinea men v Vanuatu, Australia men v New Zealand.

Friday: New Zealand women v Australia.

Saturday: New Zealand men v Vanuatu, Australia men v Papua New Guinea.

Sunday: New Zealand women v Australia, men 3 v men 4, men 1 v men 2.


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