Savannah Fitzpatrick and Gabrielle Nance have been selected for the Australia Schoolgirls hockey team.
Savannah Fitzpatrick and Gabrielle Nance have been selected for the Australia Schoolgirls hockey team. Scott Powick

Tweed stars closer to hockey dream

TWEED hockey stars Savannah Fitzpatrick and Gabrielle Nance have dreamt for as long as they can remember of joining the Hockeyroos one day.

That dream just got a step closer, with both girls gaining selection in the Australian Schoolgirls team to tour Europe next month.

“I’m really excited. I’ve been playing hockey since I was four, so this is a long time coming,” Savannah said.

“We are being given the opportunity of a lifetime.

“These nations are amongst the best in the world.”

Savannah said the selection process for the Australian Schoolgirls team was a nerve-wracking experience.

“We had to go to Bunbury for the under-16 schoolgirl championships and we were selected from there.”

Gabrielle is prepared for a lot of hard work.

“It is going to be a tough tour, with eight Test matches over 15 days, but we have both been training hard so we are prepared,” Gabrielle said.

Margaret Coleman, Savannah’s mother, said there had been an overwhelming amount of support from the Tweed community, with a weekend fundraiser collecting almost $10,000.

The night involved trivia quizzes, auctions and raffles.

Entertainment was provided by Innocent by Acoustic and comedian Fred Lang.

The girls have spent the past few weeks door-knocking in the Tweed area, asking local businesses if they would like to contribute to the fundraiser or help sponsor their trip and were delighted with the help they received.

“It costs $6000 each to send the girls on the tour,” Coleman said.

“For people to be able to dig in their pockets is wonderful.

“All the local businesses were really generous.

“If they are successful, the local community can be proud, as they have helped in making a local kids’ dream come true,” she said.

Savannah and Gabrielle were amazed by the level of support.

“Everyone has been so generous. Every business we approached was more than happy to be involved,” Gabrielle said.

The girls were unable to attend their fundraiser at the weekend because they were in trials for the under-18 Queensland hockey squad.

Both girls have made the squad and when they return from Europe in March will have just one week to rest before state training begins.

Despite playing against each other at club level and attending different high schools, the girls are friends.

“I go to Lindisfarne and Gabrielle goes to Kingscliff High, and I play for Casuarina and Gabrielle plays for Kingscliff,” Savannah said.

“We actually play against each other at club level but we’re still really good friends.”

Businesses interested in helping sponsor the girls’ trip can contact Margaret Coleman on 0413 622 950 or email margaretcoleman@bigpond.com



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