Nelson hockey star Tarn Richards is setting his sights on the Black Sticks.
The 16-year-old striker says donning the silver fern has been a dream of his since he first picked up a hockey stick.
Tarn recently returned from the New Zealand Provincial Hockey championships in Dunedin with the winning U18 Capital side.
Capital defeated Auckland in the grand final who handed Capital its only loss of the tournament earlier in the week.
Capital’s first match ended in a 3-3 draw against Southern with Capital winning the shoot-out 4-2 to take the extra point.
They then beat Midlands 3-0 before their third game against Canterbury produced ten goals, with Capital scoring six against the 2017 champions.
They then went into the top-four pool where they found Auckland just too good and went down 2-1.
Needing to beat North Harbour to make the final, Capital scored the winner from a penalty corner with just two minutes left for a 2-1 win after Tarn netted the games first goal. This set up a rematch with Auckland and Capital avenged their earlier loss in empathic fashion, crushing the city slickers 3-0 to claim the crown after finishing fourth in 2017.
Tarn says the tournament was an incredible experience.
“It was a real team effort.”
Picking up the sport as a nine-year-old, Tarn took to the turf like a duck to water.
“I just love the pace of the game.”
Tarn says his current Nelson coach, Jamie Brown, is a huge source of inspiration.
“He’s just a great player and I have learnt so much from him.”
He says he dreams of one day competing at a national level.
“I just want to keep improving and be the best player I can be.”
This week’s hockey draw:
The 2018 Nelson Hockey club finals get underway this weekend.
Saturday August 25
Men’s first division final:
Tasman V Federal
3.30pm, Turf 1
Women’s first division final:
Tasman White V Federal
1.45pm, Turf 1