Mel has high hopes after selection in New South Wales Masters side

THEY say 40 is the new 20.

For Ex-Services hockey star Mel Hope, the saying rings true - following a gruelling selection trial process Hope was chosen to represent NSW over 40s at the National Women’s Masters Hockey Championships in Darwin, in July.

“I’ve had better,” she laughed, referring to her trial performance.

“You never know, and you never go in or come out of these things too confident. I know the coach from a while back, as horrible as that sounds. But he knows what I’m capable of I guess and put his faith in me. I’ve been selected as part of the leadership group among the squad as well, which is just great.”

While she will make her over 40s debut, Hope is no stranger to the national carnival having donned sky blue on two previous occasions.

“I played in 2009 and 2010, in the over 35s” she explained.

“It’s great to get picked again, I’m really excited for it.”

The 39-year-old said she expected the over 40s to be more than competitive, explaining several members of the team had played together before.

“Obviously it’s the age you turn this year, so I’m eligible,” she said.

“A lot of us have played together before, so we know each other’s games. There is a lot of very good quality players in the squad, but even so, it’s hard to say how we’ll go.”

Despite saying she just wants to play well, Hope conceded taking the next step is a goal.

“Playing for Australia is definitely something I’d love to do, if I got picked,” Hope said.

“I’m not sure of the process though, whether it’s picked from this carnival or not. Honestly I’m just looking forward to playing some good hockey with a great bunch of girls.”

Three other locals will also represent NSW - Deb Orrock (55s), Kerrie Wood (60s) and former Orange player Naomi Spark, who is now based in Tamworth will play alongside Hope.

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