Finally- another Southern girl in Black Sticks

New Black Sticks goalkeeper Ginny Wilson (also inset) stops the ball while fellow Southern player...
New Black Sticks goalkeeper Ginny Wilson (also inset) stops the ball while fellow Southern player Tessa Jopp moves in during a Black Sticks training camp in Auckland earlier this month. PHOTO: PLANET HOCKEY
The men have done it and, after a long absence, a Southern female player has cracked the top echelon of New Zealand hockey.

Ginny Wilson has become the first woman from the Southern region to be selected for the Black Sticks for many a year.

Wilson (21) was named in a new-look Black Sticks side over the weekend to take on Malaysia in five tests at Stratford next month.

A goalkeeper, she is believed to be the first woman from the South picked for a national team for more than a decade.

The likes of Tina Bell, Kylie Foy and Mandy Smith from Otago made the New Zealand team around the turn of the century but since then the pickings have been lean.

Meanwhile, men such as Hugo Inglis and Kane Russell have made the national side.

Wilson, the daughter of Dunedin city councillor Kate Wilson, is registered as Southern player but has lived in Auckland for all of this year to improve her hockey and played for the Capital side in the national hockey league.

``I am really thrilled to get selected. I sort of had a feeling it might happen. A couple of the other girls were unavailable so I thought I would have a chance,'' she said.

Wilson moved to the North Shore at the start of the year to help improve her hockey and her move has obviously worked.

``It was a tough decision [to leave Dunedin]. But it is a better standard up here. In Dunedin as a goalkeeper sometimes you don't get the same chances. There is more opportunity for coaching and things up here.

``We are training Monday, Wednesday, Friday up here, then you've got gym work three times a week. So it takes up some time and you don't get paid for it.''

Wilson has been a goalkeeper virtually from the time she took up the game just after she started school.

``I've been a goalkeeper since I was 7. They used to say I was too slow to play in the outfield so they stuck me in goal.

``I was the goalie and continued and that became part of me.

``It does scare me at times ... but you've got all that padding on.

``It can get extremely hot. We went on a tour of Australia last year and it was 40degC at one of the games. We were dying out there.''

She first started playing for Strath Taieri in a combined team which included future Black Stick Kane Russell. Both will now wear the black singlet.

Wilson will graduate from Otago Polytechnic next month in Dunedin with a bachelor of applied science degree specialising in physical activity, health and wellbeing.

She was studying extramurally while living in Auckland this year.

``I just have to thank so many people who have helped me. I'd like to thank the Bank of Mum and Dad [Kate and Callum] - they've been a huge help. There have just been so many people who have helped me along the way.''

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