Bellingen’s hockey star Justin Alford has come home with gold after competing for NSW at the nationals last month.
The team dominated the competition going through undefeated: Western Australia 3-1, Victoria 6-2, Qld 2-2, Northern Territory 6-0, Australian Defence Force (ADF) 3-0 and South Australia 7-0.
The gold medal match against the ADF, 4-1, makes it four years in a row that the NSW team hasn't lost a game.
While the competition was tough and the playing conditions warm, this didn't stop Alford playing some great hockey and he was rewarded by being voted in two games as the team’s Best and Fairest player.
Justin is eligible to play in the Australian U21s, where he has been selected the last three years, however the selectors were very impressed with his performance and at the age of 20 he was named in the Australian Open Men's Country team to tour Vietnam and Hong Kong next year. Only three NSW men were named in this team so a great achievement.
Regionally, Justin plays in a number of teams and the results were mixed.
Playing in the Grafton Premier League final against a very strong Royals Clocktower, Justin’s team the City Bears came away with a 3-2 win.
During the subsequent presentation ceremony, Justin was announced the Best and Fairest player for Division 1 of the Grafton Hockey Association.
Locally, Justin’s Bellingen team finished fourth, and his Coffs team finished third.