Two Waiheke women will play in the Vantage National Masters Hockey Tournament at Tauranga from Sunday 26 February to Saturday 4 March, following two years of Covid cancellations. Leanne Walker will play for the Auckland 35s age group and Rachel Falconer for Waikato 50s. The event is the main selection tournament for the New Zealand Masters hockey team for this year’s trans-Tasman clash in Christchurch in May. Making the team could also mean heading to next year’s Masters World Cup competition in London.
Leanne has been playing hockey since she was five. Her 33-year career includes playing at representative level for Nelson from the age of 10. She’s played internationally in Sydney and in London.
Rachel went from intermediate school in Waikato, where she was in the age-group regional representative side, to playing in the inaugural National Hockey League for Midlands. She played for New Zealand in the over-35s. She has also coached hockey, particularly when her daughters played. “We had three teams playing for Waiheke for a few years but sadly I couldn’t continue coaching when my kids moved to schools in town. I followed them and coached their teams in the city,” she says. Now Rachel plays for the North Shore United team in the North Harbour competition in the winter and represents Waikato in the masters 50s team. • Sarah Gloyer
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