Source: PhotosportHugo Inglis (right) challenged by Steve Edwards
Otago 18-year-old Hugo Inglis is the last minute surprise of the Black Sticks team named to contest the BDO World Cup Qualifier in Invercargill.
Inglis, who was the National Hockey League top goal scorer while playing for Midlands this year, has been selected for his natural talents in front of goal.
The team's only new cap, Inglis, played for the Junior Black Sticks in last weekend's matchups against the Black Sticks for the first two matches before being called across to be part of the senior side for the last match.
National coach Shane McLeod said;
"Every time Hugo is taken to a new level he rises to the occasion. I originally thought it might be a little early for him, but he has come along well at Midlands this year."
Another striker, Priyesh Bhana (North Harbour), who has just 10 caps, has also worked his way into the team. Bhana (25), was introduced to international hockey earlier this year and has responded well.
McLeod has opted for an extra striker in his selection mix, naming five strikers. The strategy has come at the expense of experienced defender James Nation (105) caps who did not make the final cut.
Two other players, Wellington attackers Joel Baker and Blair Hilton were also unlucky to make the final cut, with the side being selected on current form. The two will be brought back into the programme in the near future.
McLeod is very happy with the form of his players, from the promising Juniors through to experienced internationals Blair Hopping, Phil Burrows and Ryan Archibald, who are peaking well.
Only one player remains under a health cloud. Hayden Shaw, who suffered a bout of pneumonia recently, did not take part in the weekend's matches and has been bracketed with fellow Cantabrian Nick Haig.
The participating teams for the World Cup Qualifier are in order of world ranking: New Zealand (8th), China (13th), Malaysia (16th ), Austria (20th ), Scotland (24th ), and Wales (29th ).
The winner of the 2009 BDO World Cup Qualifying Tournament will take up one of the final three positions available for the 2010 World Cup in New Delhi, India next February.
Of the six competing teams only New Zealand and Malaysia have ever played in a World Cup.
New Zealand has played in six World Cups since 1971. Their top finish is 7th place which they achieved four times, in 1982, 1975, 1973 and 1971. Malaysia has competed six times. Their best placing is fourth, back in 1975.
Black Sticks squad: Andrew Hayward (Midlands) Defender, Simon Child (Auckland) Striker, Blair Hopping (North Harbour) Defender, Dean Couzins (Auckland) Defender, Ryan Archibald (Auckland) Midfielder, Priyesh Bhana (North Harbour) Striker, Brad Shaw (Canterbury) Defender, Stephen Graham (Midlands) Goalkeeper, Kyle Pontifex (Wellington) Goalkeeper, Phil Burrows (Wellington) Midfielder, Hayden Shaw (Canterbury) Defender, Arun Panchia (Auckland) Midfielder, Shea McAleese (Central) Midfielder, Richard Petherick (Midlands) Defender, Hugo Inglis (Midlands) Midfielder, Ben Collier (North Harbour) Midfielder, Steve Edwards (North Harbour) Midfielder, Nick Wilson ( North Harbour) Striker.