Naden the star as Thunder’s best lead Hornets at junior regional touch championships
Written by Central Western Daily
Erin Naden continues to press her claim as one of the city’s top all-round sports stars having won selection in the under 16s girls’ NSW Merit side following a successful NSW Touch Junior Regionals Championships at Ballina last weekend.
Naden’s under 16s Hunter-Western Hornets side narrowly missed out on the championship, losing the final against a highly fancied Sydney Scorpians team 5-2.
But Naden’s strong performances as one of the best links at the titles earned her a spot in the state merit side.
“Erin Naden's inclusion in the merit team is reward for her hard work and dedication to touch. She's a rare talent who excels at any sport she plays,” City of Orange Touch Association’s Joel Begnell said.
The club also had Lachlan Wilson, Sophie Stammers and both Jack Cole and Connor Davis represent the Hornets.
At the completion of the tournament, two regional champions, three regional runners up and a selection in the NSW Merit Team were the achievements earned by Orange Thunder's best touch talent.
“Our club is extremely proud of the achievements of these players,” Begnell continued.
“There are some exceptionally talented players at our club, and within the western region. It's encouraging when these players have the opportunity to display their talents on a bigger stage.”
Wilson (under 18s boys) and Sophie Stammers (under 18s girls) tasted success in their teams, with both defeating Sydney Scorpions (Sydney North) teams in their respective finals, 6-4 and 5-0.
Wilson's side dropped their opening game, but were able to recover to claim the big prize. Stammers' side was dominant all competition going through as undefeated champions.
Both Jack Cole and Connor Davis (under 14s boys) overcame some defeats in the round games to progress to the final, where they were defeated by Sydney Scorpions 5-3 in a tightly contested match.
The Hunter/Western Hornets region ended up being finalists in all six divisions, winning both boys and girls under 18s divisions.
Hornets also won the player relay, which Naden was a member of.
The Hornets region narrowly missed out on the region championships award, losing to Sydney Scorpions by a single point overall.