Three Bundaberg boys have been selected in the Queensland schools hockey team for 16 years and under.
Ryan Maclean, Isaac Wales and Sam Aitkenhead were chosen after the Wide Bay team won the state title.
After a narrow 2-1 loss to Metropolitan East in the 2019 grand final, the Wide Bay Boys Hockey team were keen for a second attempt and defeated their Brisbane-based rivals 2-0 in the championship decider.
The Wide Bay girls team also brought home the gold, defeating Metropolitan West 3-2 in their final.
The boys went through the tournament almost undefeated, losing only one game to another regional powerhouse, Capricornia.
In the semi-final, the Wide Bay Boys played a close game with Metropolitan North, with the game decided by a penalty shootout after full time.
in the semi-finals all of the Wide Bay strikers hit their mark while Bundaberg goalkeeper Ryan Maclean saved three shootouts against Metropolitan North.
The final against Metropolitan East was a nail-biter and for most of the game possession and field position were equal, but two second-quarter goals by Diarmid Chappell, who was eventually named player of the final by Queensland selectors, proved to be the difference between the teams.
Not only did Bundaberg's Ryan Maclean pave the way to the final with his semi-final heroics, but all three Bundaberg boys, Ryan, 15-year old Isaac Wales and 14-year old Sam Aitkenhead were selected in the 16-years and under Queensland schools hockey team.
Sam Aitkenhead, a striker for the Wide Bay Boys team, has been selected to represent the state three times before, but said he was stoked to be chosen for the under 16 Queensland team.
“I found out Sunday I think it was and I was stoked,” he said.
“It’s pretty good knowing that I’ve been selected because I’m one of the younger players in the team so to be selected is great.”
Having played since he was five, Sam has been chosen for the Queensland team before and enjoys playing for the state and the team environment of hockey.
“I’ve been playing ever since I was about five years old and everyone in my family plays,” he said.
“Obviously at the moment with restrictions we don’t get to travel much, but in the previous years we’ve travelled all around to Perth and Adelaide.
“Hockey is just such a big part of my life and I really enjoy being able to play.”