Hockey has been a part of Chloe Hampton’s life since she was just four years old.
Now 19, Hampton is training for a trip to Fiji with the Australian country under 21 team alongside Armidale player Katrina Rekunow.
“It was so unexpected,” she said.
Hampton, who was on the ‘pick up player list’, began playing with the South Australian team after the National Australian Country Championships in Townsville in August. Currently studying nursing at the University of New England, Hampton had expected to join a pair of Armidale team mates in the NSW team when she was told she would be needed. Regardless, she was thrilled to have the opportunity to play at a higher level.
“They were really welcoming, the South Australian girls, and it was great to have that type of team as the first team I played with at a national level,” she said.
Hampton wasn’t the only one surprised by her selection on the Australian Country team, and said of her family “They thought I was making it up!”
Despite the protective gear, she’s broken her wrist and her foot in previous games. However, she is still keen to see how far she can go with the sport. A little nervous, Hampton is working hard on her fitness level in anticipation of the December trip, where she will face a Pacific islands team, Japan and New Zealand.
“Over in Fiji it’s the wet season and the humidity and the temperature will be a lot hotter than it is here. In Inverell and Armidale, it’s freezing in hockey season, whereas over there, it’s basically hotter than summer is,” she said.
Playing as goalkeeper, Hampton loves the team aspect of the game.
“You kind of get to be bossy. That’s your little area out the back here. Whenever anything comes in, you own it,” she said.
She admitted her role was high pressure, and that she felt a personal responsibility for every opposition goal.
“That’s your job, is to stop the goal. But when you do save it, it’s a good feeling.”