Australian Country hockey team keeps chin up

By GREGOR MACTAGGARTmactaggartg@gladstoneobserver.com.au

NOT EVEN an inconsistent start for her Australian Country team at the Arafura Games in Darwin could spoil the surprise birthday celebrations for Gladstone hockey player Susan Aitkenhead-Brown yesterday.

The Aussie vice-captain's 29th birthday was warmly marked by her team-mates who surprised her at 1am after Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Malaysian Sports Council.

It was a disappointing loss on the back of a great first up 3-0 win over Malaysian Universities on Saturday night.

Aitkenhead-Brown got her name onto the scoresheet in that match with a well-taken goal, and has been happy with her form so far.

She has also been pleased to line up in her regular position of centre-half.

She said it helped her play well. 'To get a goal in the first game was nice and it has been satisfying to play well,' Aitkenhead-Brown said.

'Lining up at centre-half has been nice and really allowed me to settle into the matches.

'As a team we played well the first game, but we didn't really get going in the second game against the Sports Council team.

'They (Sports Council) are a feeder team for the national team and were just a bit too quick for us on the day,' she said.

Australian Country's next game is today against Singapore Police and Aitkenhead-Brown said they need to win to keep their medal hopes alive.

'The gold medal is probably out of reach for us now after being beaten, but we still want win as many games as possible and you never know what will happen in the next four games,' she said.



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