When hockey player Simon Orchard steps out with the Australian Kookaburras at this year’s London Olympics he knows the people of Maitland will be behind him all the way.
Orchard was 10 years old when he began to hone his skills on the grass fields at Maitland Park as a member of the Maitland Rams – beginning a journey that will
hopefully lead him to Olympic glory.
His success is also an encouragement to other Maitland youngsters, showing them that hard work and dedication can lead to higher honours.
After a stint with NSW Waratahs, Orchard became an integral part of the Australian team and made his international debut in a Five Nations
tournament against Germany in South Africa in 2008.
Since then Orchard celebrated a World Cup and Commonwealth Games victories in New Delhi in 2010 and Champions Trophy successes in 2009 and 2010.
Not a bad effort for a young man who is described as a “late bloomer” on the Hockey Australia website, where he lists a visit to the Australian war memorials in France as the most memorable thing to happen while away on tour.
It is hoped he will soon be able to add another
memorable moment to the list: an Olympic gold medal as part of a victorious Kookaburras team in London.
Good luck Orchard. You will carry the hopes and dreams of the people of Maitland – and the nation – and we will be cheering you all the way.