Smash and grab titles: Region stars at National Women's Masters hockey titles

PROUD: The Orange contingent at the Australian Women's Masters hockey championships in Newcastle. [Left to right] Samone Vennard - manager 60s, Gail Fuller 45 NSW Waratahs, Mary Ellen Betts 45 NSW Waratahs, Michelle Stevenson manager NSW 45s, Belinda Lewis 35s South West (SA & WA), Tamara Keegan 35s, Kerrie Wood 65s, Melissa Mendham 40s, Deb Orrock 60s, Leanne Kennewell 35s, Belinda Ferguson SA 40s, Jodi Murray 45s Waratahs, Jane Rowlands manager 65s, Lindl Taylor coach 35s, Amy Thornberry 35s, Marilyn Brown Assistant Umpire manager.  Absent: Naomi Spark 40s, Trent Wilde umpire, Tiff Brown umpire. Photo: Supplied
PROUD: The Orange contingent at the Australian Women's Masters hockey championships in Newcastle. [Left to right] Samone Vennard - manager 60s, Gail Fuller 45 NSW Waratahs, Mary Ellen Betts 45 NSW Waratahs, Michelle Stevenson manager NSW 45s, Belinda Lewis 35s South West (SA & WA), Tamara Keegan 35s, Kerrie Wood 65s, Melissa Mendham 40s, Deb Orrock 60s, Leanne Kennewell 35s, Belinda Ferguson SA 40s, Jodi Murray 45s Waratahs, Jane Rowlands manager 65s, Lindl Taylor coach 35s, Amy Thornberry 35s, Marilyn Brown Assistant Umpire manager. Absent: Naomi Spark 40s, Trent Wilde umpire, Tiff Brown umpire. Photo: Supplied

They’re a tough lot, our elite women’s hockey masters players.

About 19 players, managers and umpires from Orange contested and officiated at the Australian Women’s Masters hockey championships which finished on Sunday in Newcastle.

They helped the 65+ and 60+ teams to a gold medal and contributed to the success of other teams.

NSW was dominant because they were fit.

Jane Rowlands, NSW 65s manager

Manager of the 65+ team, Jan Rowlands, said the toughness of the talent was epitomised by Orange’s Deb Orrock whose nose was “smashed” when she was hit in the face by a hockey ball during the competition.

Rowlands said she went to hospital but was back on deck to play the last game and help her state to the gold medal.

“It was very brave of her,” she said.

Orrock also scored four goals in the tournament.

Rowlands’ own team, the 65+ women that included Kerrie Woods, were on top of their game.

“They went through undefeated,” she said.

Not only that, they thrashed WA in the final 8-0.

“NSW was dominant because they were fit.

“The still had legs at the end of the tournament.”

She said the 35+ team, featuring Orange’s Leanne Kennewell, goalkeeper Amy Thornberry and Tamara Keegan, won bronze after beating Tasmania 2-0 in the playoff.

And she said Orange players featured in both 45+ teams that did well in the tournament.

She said the second team was included just before the tournament to make up for a lack of teams from interstate.

Rowlands said several Orange representatives had also been selected in the Australian world cup team or being placed on the shadow lineup after the national titles.

They included Kennewell and coach Lindl Taylor.

The Orange players were: Samone Vennard manager 60s, Gail Fuller 45s NSW Waratahs team, Mary Ellen Betts, 45s NSW Waratahs team, Michelle Stevenson manager 45s, Belinda Lewis 35s South West team, Tamara Keegan 35s, Kerrie Woods 65s, Melissa Mendham 40s, Deb Orrock 60s, Leanne Kennewell 35s, Belinda Ferguson 40s SA team, Jodi Murray 45s NSW Waratahs team, Jane Rowlands manager 65s, Lindl Taylor, coach 35s, Amy Thornberry 35s and Naomi Sparks 40s.

There were two Orange-based umpires, Trent Wilde and Tiff Brown, while Marilyn Brown was assistant umpire manager.