Our latest hockey prodigy

THE hockey-breeding ground that is the Tweed has spawned once again.

Banora's Andrew Ridgewell became the latest in a string of local talent to burst onto the state rep- resentative scene with his selection in the NSW Combined High Schools open hockey side.

The 17-year-old has carried a stick for just four years, but is already reaping the benefits of playing alongside some of the country's finest players in the Tweed Border Hockey competition.

“I've had opportunity to play with Jason Wilson (Australian rep- resentative), Trevor Mills (State League player) and blokes like that, which has been a privilege,” Andrew said.

“They've taught me a few things and helped me out a lot.

“Jason's someone I really look up to; he's helped coach me and taught me a few good tricks.”

Andrew's special sessions helped him earn the captain's band for the North Coast side that travelled to Albury for four days last month to contest the state championships.

There he guided his men to a remarkable grand final berth, but unfortunately his men were pipped at the post, losing to Hunter by a goal in extra time.

However his inspirational lead- ership and obvious ability did not go unnoticed, and Andrew earned his state colours.

“I played mainly right inner or centre forward and bagged a couple of goals,” he said.

“My main strength though is probably to firing the boys up.

“I love the game because of the speed and skill involved.

“I'll keep training hard and push to play national level.”

That means busy times ahead for the Year 12 Kingscliff High School student, who will increase his hockey training schedule to four days a week, while balancing Higher School Certificate studies.

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