Tanya Hawley will represent Nelson at the Festival of Hockey next month and is keen to show her ability to national selectors. Photo Supplied

Nelson flavour to Festival of Hockey

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Nelson’s Tanya Hawley is happy playing hockey on her terms.

She is one of a quartet of Tasman players who have been picked to play for teams in the Festival of Hockey next month.

The 27-year-old defender says being part of the New Zealand Affiliates team for a tournament which involves other Kiwi teams like New Zealand Universities, New Zealand India and New Zealand Maori, was a huge thrill.

“It’s my second time in and I’m looking forward to a week of hockey.”

The best players from the tournament get picked for a team that will travel to Fiji for matches later in the year.

Tanya, whose game is based around good stick control and an uncompromising approach to tackles, says the game has been part of her life for a long time.

“I first started playing when I was five, with my brother when we were in Middlemarch.
“It’s one of those places where the kids played hockey, the mums played netball and the dads played rugby.”

Tanya and her family moved to Nelson when she was 10, where she went down to the hockey turf and met her mentor and current Tasman women’s coach Paul Jones.

From there, she has been a regular fixture in representative and age-group teams ever since.

She is often seen on the goal line during penalty corners and often acts as the last line of defence when the shot comes in.

She says she still has the hunger to play top level hockey and is keen to play overseas if given the opportunity.

It is another sign of strength for Nelson Hockey, which has debuted a secondary school competition over the past fortnight.

The seven week competition runs on Thursday nights and has eight teams competing, with both boys and girls playing with and against each other in what Nelson Hockey is hoping will be a regular event.