Tamworth turns it on for Magic Week

Magic Week is quickly becoming a major highlight of the annual primary school sports calendar. Glenn Cullen reports.

Image: Hockeyroos goalkeeper Zoe Newman joins the girls from Sydney South West at Magic Week in Tamworth.

There was magic in the air, and more than just a little in the results, as the Primary Schools Sports Association (PSSA) held its second major championships in Tamworth.

Dubbed ‘Magic Week’, some 670 of NSW’s finest young hockey players and basketballers gathered to compete at the event in the state’s northwest across four days.

The event started under crisp early winter skies after Dr Sylvia Corish, Executive Director, Student Support and Specialist Programs, addressed around 2,000 people who had gathered to compete or support the competition.

“It was a huge opportunity for a regional centre such as Tamworth to host such a large event,” said Peter Yeo, Executive Officer, North West School Sport.

“Certainly, the local businesses and services were able to reap the rewards and we were also lucky enough to have some local success on the field, too.”

Driven on by a vocal home crowd, North West snared the boys’ hockey title after beating South Coast in the final.

It had been a dominant week for the local side that claimed its first state title since 2007 and did it in style by going through the championship undefeated.

In the girls’ hockey, South Coast shared the spoils with Polding after their final was locked up after extra time.

Hunter dominated the boards to take out the girls’ basketball, beating Sydney North in the final while MacKillop took out the boys’ event.

Image: A Western player drives to the basket.

While there was plenty of wizardry on the courts and fields of Tamworth, there was also magic dust getting sprinkled on the sidelines with some of the sports’ top names visiting the event.

Working with the Department of Education as part of the Olympics Unleashed program, Australian basketballers Nick Kay and Marianna Tolo engaged with students over two days, as did Hockeyroos goalkeeper Zoe Newman.

The trio conducted educational sessions with students in town and at schools including Tamworth West and Tamworth South, as well as meeting and greeting players, conducting media interviews and helping out with commentary for the live streamed events.

The ever-burgeoning live-streaming facility attracted 33,000 views between the events.

It was a particularly nice touch having Nick Kay back in town, the Japan-based power forward and Tokyo Olympic medallist a huge local favourite having grown up in Tamworth.

“Magic Week by name turned magic in nature with everyone being winners: community, officials and, most importantly, students,” Peter Banks, Leader, School Sport Unit said.

“The Department is grateful for the warm welcome we received from the Tamworth locals, as well as the team leaders, coaches and parents in full voice on the sidelines, and the enthusiastic play from the students.

“It was all capped off by the visit of three Olympians to make for a fantastic week.”

Image: North Coast and Western battle it out in a hockey match.
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