A total of 6 Hills Hornets represented Australia at the recent Youth World Cup held in Malaysia.
- Flynn Angles-Corke – Australian U18 Boy’s
- Keeley Bowen – Australian U20 Men’s
- Ray Wehbe – Australian U20 Men’s
- Dave Nolan – Coach, Australian U20 Men’s
- Mel Mitchell – Manager, Australian U18 Mixed
- Phil McIlwraith – Manager, Australian U20 Mens
It was the first Youth World Cup to be held in 13 years, with New Zealand reigning champions.
In addition to teams from Australia and New Zealand, there were teams from China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore South Africa and the United States.
In an amazing result, the Aussies took out all 6 divisions to bring the Youth World Cup to Australia.
The tournament was played in tough conditions, with mid 30 temperatures and high humidity. The game format was changed to include drink breaks at the 10 minute mark of each half. The 4 days of touch football was as much about endurance and how teams managed the tough conditions as it was about skill and athleticism.
The clean sweep of all divisions would suggest a complete domination, but results during the round games tell a different story. The U20 Men’s team had not registered a win in the 2 round games against NZ and included a significant loss (10-7) the day before the final. The 20’s Mixed team also went down to NZ convincingly a day earlier. But with true Aussie spirit all teams rose to the occasion and saved their best touch football for their respective finals.
Hornets News caught up with Wehbe when he landed back in Australia.
“It was a fantastic event. There was a carnival atmosphere with such good spirit and goodwill from all countries – many of which I didn’t even know played touch football.”, said Wehbe
And conditions were tough?
“Yeah, real tough. On the second last day I was treated for symptoms of heat stroke. But we were all so well looked after. The Australian Medical team was outstanding and the protocols put in place to deal with conditions during and between games kept us healthy and made a difference to our performance in the final.”
And how does it feel to be a world champion?
“Unbelievable. These moments in your sporting life are rare, and as a team we had to fight really hard to get over New Zealand. This gold medal means so much to me.”
So what’s next for the returning world champions? Well it’s all about Vawdon Cup.
- Wehbe, Bowen and Angles-Corke re-join Hills Hornets Division 1 men’s team in their campaign to win a back-to-back title;
- Mitchell resumes her role as Captain of the Hills Hornets Women’s Premier League; and
- McIlwraith puts on his coaching gear for the Hills Hornets Boys Youth team.
You may even spot one or 2 of the world champion Hornets at Junior Development Day on 26th August (and maybe get to see what a World Cup Gold Medal looks like).
No doubt their experience of the Youth World Cup will be something the whole of Hills Hornets will benefit from.