By PAUL CHAMBERS
THE future is looking promising for Coffs Harbour hockey player Chris Shipman.
He has just been selected in the NSW All Schools hockey team which is travelling to Hobart for the State championships where he has the opportunity of selection in the Australian schoolboys team.
In a rigorous and thorough selection process Shipman, 16, from Toormina High, was first spotted playing for Coffs Harbour under-17's at a representative carnival at Tamworth in May and selected in the original squad of 32 in the under-16's.
Then in early June, he spent a week in Sydney at the Narrabeen Sports Academy with the other squad members being put through their paces at a training camp which to assess players abilities before cutting the squad down to a final 16.
Shipman made the cut and is looking forward to playing for the State team.
He knows the standard of play will be better than anything he has experienced before, but would not expect anything less in a tournament involving the best young players in the country.
To add a little more spice to the event the Australian selectors will carefully scrutinize every player to select a national team and Shipman is quietly confident of his chances.
"I think my prospects for the tournament are good and if I am playing at my best I stand a pretty good chance of making the Australian schoolboys team," he said.
His recent playing credentials add some weight to his confidence.
He was last year's first grade best and fairest player for his club, Southside at the age of 15.
He has been a member of the NSW and NSW Country teams for the last four years, a representative player since 11 and this is his second full season playing first grade in the Coffs and Grafton combined men's competition.
His ambitions in the sport are fairly simple.
"It would be good to play for State and National teams at all levels," he said.
"But as long as I am having fun and enjoying myself while I am playing that will be good for me."
If he maintains his confident approach and his current standard of performance there is no reason he cannot achieve his goals sooner rather than later.