YOUNG GUN: Gabrielle Aitkenhead (centre) is all smiles after scoring a goal against Cairns at the under-13 girls state championships.
YOUNG GUN: Gabrielle Aitkenhead (centre) is all smiles after scoring a goal against Cairns at the under-13 girls state championships. Mike Knott BUN100718HOCKEY2

Bundy shows fight at home at state titles

HOCKEY: She may be small in stature but Gabrielle Aitkenhead is showing she can match it with the best in the state.

Aitkenhead, 9, is one of a number of Bundaberg juniors stepping up in class to compete against older girls at the under-13 state hockey titles in the Rum City.

She is one of the youngest at the tournament but that didn't stop her scoring against Cairns 2 yesterday in a 2-1 loss.

Bundaberg fell short of a draw after having chances to get something out of the game.

"The second half was fantastic - they were a bit asleep in the first half," Bundy under-13 coach Susan Kendall said.

"I was impressed they listened to what I said (pre-game) and gave it a go."

Kendall said the side has exceeded expectations so far in a rebuilding year.

Bundaberg has drawn with Toowoomba 2 and lost to Brisbane 3, Brisbane 4 and Rockhampton to add to the Carins 2 loss.

But Kendall said the side had been competitive.

"I came with expectations at a certain level and they've exceeded them," she said.

"I see this as a building process, an experience for them to learn because some have never played rep hockey before.

"And we've matched it fairly well with all the other teams."

Kendall said players including Aitkenhead, Zoe Wallace, Julie Munro and Grace Ferguson had shined.

"Aitkenhead is one that leads by example and everyone else can be inspired by how she plays," she said.

"She's always positive, she's always strong on the ball and she listens to everything I say."

The titles conclude today with Bundaberg playing Brisbane 2 after playing Tweed Border yesterday.

The side needs to avoid finishing last to be relegated to division 3.



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