Teen helps lift State to bronze finish

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

Rising local hockey star Karel Cronje has helped WA claim a bronze medal at the School Sport Australia Boys 16 Years and Under Championships, which wrapped up in Adelaide earlier this month.

Cronje, who plays for Spencer Park in the Lower Great Southern Hockey Association, was the captain of the WA schoolboys’ side as they looked to better their fourth-place finish in last year’s tournament.

WA won their opening three games in the pool matches, beating Tasmania 4-2 and then winning 2-1 over Victoria before defeating the Australian Capital Territory 7-0.

Queensland downed WA 2-1 in their fourth match, and the sandgropers lost a second game when New South Wales beat them 3-0, but wins over India (7-3) and South Australia (4-1) ensured WA finished third in the standings.

In a terrific bronze-medal match against Victoria, both sides had an opportunity to win, but the game eventually ended in a 3-3 draw, leaving WA to take home a medal after they finished higher in the pool standings.

Cronje said it was a satisfying tournament given the way his side played against the dominant sides NSW, Queensland and Victoria.

“It was a bit disappointing not to win the bronze medal game in extra time or flicks, but that’s just what happens,” the 16-year-old said.

“To win a medal was really great. Last year we finished fourth, but didn’t do very well because we lost heavily to those good sides.

“This year we were the only team to beat Victoria and gave Queensland a hard game.

“I think I played all right, but there is still plenty of things I can improve on.”

The hardworking midfielder is keen to pursue hockey and will commence trials for the State 18s squad shortly.

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