New Zealand’s under-16 team, with Timaru’s Patrick Hill, Tymon Bernard and Brett Clifford and under-15 team, including Andrew Coyle and James Blatherwick, crossed the ditch last weekend to play in the Vikings Futsal Australasian National Championships in Sydney.
Members came from around New Zealand and had only one training session together, the weekend before they left.
Playing indoors with no air conditioning, they struggled to cope with the 48C temperatures inside stadium on the first day.
Cooler temperatures later in the week helped and the team performed strongly against Australian sides, in high scoring games over four days, and finished third out of a field of four.
The under-15 side narrowly lost a semifinal game to the eventual tournament winners, Queensland City. Blatherwick scored one of the goals towards the final 3-2 score. At the end of the tournament, Clifford was named as a member of the Vikings Futsal All-Stars team, which comprises of the top five players selected from all Australasian teams competing in each age group.
Out of seven teams, including senior men’s and women’s teams from New Zealand, he was the only New Zealand player to make the All-Stars side.