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Wednesday, 15 August 2012 10:37

Hockey: Talya Carthwright- Two For The Price of One


Representing your province in sport is always a great honour, doing it in two diverse sport codes at the age of only 16, is an amazing achievement exclusive to an elite few young sportswomen in South Africa. Here is Talya Cartwright’s remarkable succsess story.

On the Hockey front

111Talya’s provincial accomplishments on the hockey field started quite modestly when she represented SWD at U/12A, while still living in Knysna. Since her relocation to Cape Town and after just one year at Herschel, she started playing 1st team hockey when she was in Grade 9 in 2010. Talya has represented Western Province at U/13 and U/14 level before going on to represent the WP U/16A team in 2010 and 2011. When asked about her the highlight of her Hockey career Talya said: “To have been selected for the for the WP U/19A team earlier this year, has been a dream come true and I look forward to representing my province to the best of my ability”.

Talya favours the position of centre link in the teams she represents and is well known in hockey circles for her exceptional ability to distribute the ball. In her Grade 8 year she took a very bold decision and joined the ranks of open woman’s club hockey, a decision that fast tracked her development by playing against older, stronger and faster women that were more experienced than her. This decision turned out to exponentially enhance her natural ability and helped to shape her into an extremely versatile player: “My teammates like to think of me as the backbone of the side, perhaps relying on my experience of playing many years of 1st team hockey, they seem to think I have a calming effect on the team” Tayla said. She further passionately elaborates by adding that many describe her as the “Foxterier” of the team a nickname she earned through her relentless drive and commitment on the field. In hockey her role model is South Africa’s Austin Smith, a player Talya has huge admiration for.

Her former WP U/16A coach, Ryan Pillay, with whom the side won the U/16 inter provincial tournament commented as follows: “Talya is the sort of player that every coach would dream of having in their side, aside from the exceptional talent on the field she is an amazing team player who exhibits commitment to whichever team she plays for. On the field Talya is an exceptionally solid defensive player and she also has the ability to be a devastating force on attack, as either a link or attacking half. Talya is an incredibly composed young lady who never seems to get flustered on the field no matter what the opposition throws at her”.

In the water

Talya is also a very talented and dedicated Water polo player as indicated by her nickname “Ninja” which refers to her acrobatic, reflexive abilities as a goalkeeper. However, interestingly enough this was not always Talya’s preferred position. In Grade 8 she was asked by her coach to shift to goalkeeper to ensure a solid defence at the goal mouth. A well-justified decision it has proved to be, as Talya has gone on to represent Western Province in different age groups as a goalkeeper. Talya tries to base herself on well-known, South African women’s Water polo captain Sarah Harris, who picked up the sought after accolade namely ‘SA Water polo player of the year in 2011. Sarah has also had a personal influence on Talya, by fuelling her passion and inspiring her to do her best when Sarah coached her in the WP U/14B team in 2009.

Talya first represented Herschel’s U/14A team in 2009. She went on to represent her school’s U/16Aa team for two years, before finally cracking the nod into the school’s 1st team at the start of 2012. Talya was selected for the U/14 B Western Province team in 2009 and went on to make the WP U16A side in 2010 and 2011. The 2012 U19 provincial trials will commence later this year. Her current 1st team coach at Herschel, Paul Martin regards her as a crucial member of the team.


Talya is a well-balanced all-rounder and besides excelling in both sport disciplines she is also an A-student at Herschel, she says: “I really love art and drawing is one of my biggest passions, other than that I love hanging out with my friends. I love home-cooked pasta dishes and have a particular weakness for a succulent steak, but only occasionally”. She also says: “I am completely unable to resist strawberries and cream and find the decadence of indulging in chocolates highly satisfying. Talya’s favourite movies are all classic, timeless animations which include Shrek, Ice age and Garfield. Tennis legends, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are two sporting greats that Talya admires: “It is their absolute commitment to their sport and their determination to stay at the top of their game which is inspiring to me”, Tayla said.

Foreseeable Future

Although the future for such a talented athlete most certainly looks very bright on the local horizon, Talya has not ruled out the possibility of studying and playing sport abroad. She mentions Germany as a possible destination once she completes her schooling in South Africa. With a well-rounded approach to all spheres of life and a fine attitude, Talya definitely has what it takes to go right to the top. Wherever her future takes her, we look forward to following her sport career with much interest.

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