Cup clash

Pil­bara hockey champs roll in

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Ali­cia Per­era

Hockey play­ers from around the Pil­bara got back on the field for their an­nual play-off at the North West Hockey Cham­pi­onships on Satur­day, af­ter the re­gional tour­na­ment took a hia­tus last year.

About 78 play­ers from Kar­ratha, Port Hed­land and Tom Price at­tended this year’s event, held on the Kar­ratha Leisure­plex Oval, split­ting into three teams to play round robin games over the course of the day.

With some fiercely con­tested games tak­ing place, it was a close com­pe­ti­tion, but ul­ti­mately the Kar­ratha 1 team were the vic­tors, beat­ing Port Hed­land in the grand fi­nal 2-0. Event or­gan­iser and Nickol Bay Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion com­mit­tee mem­ber Steve Cook said the North West Cham­pi­onships were tra­di­tion­ally the only time re­gional teams played each other and on a reg­u­la­tion field.

“Hav­ing cham­pi­onships like this is good be­cause it’s the only chance we get to play on a full-size hockey field,” he said.

“Both (Kar­ratha and Hed­land) as­so­ci­a­tions nor­mally play on ten­nis courts, so it’s a mod­i­fied lay­out, mod­i­fied num­bers.

“Both Hed­land and Kar­ratha are build­ing their ju­niors and look­ing to ex­pand hockey in the Pil­bara.”

The newly reformed Hed­land Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion brought a team of 16 and player Chad Latham said they would ben­e­fit from the change in com­pe­ti­tion.

“In our lo­cal com­pe­ti­tion, we just play against our­selves on Satur­day nights,” he said.

“So this is our first op­por­tu­nity to ac­tu­ally com­bine to­gether as one team and rep­re­sent the town, with a bit of in­ter-town ri­valry.

“Through a lot of ef­fort (Hed­land hockey) is back up and run­ning and it’s events like this that will main­tain that in­ter­est in hockey to keep peo­ple want­ing to put their shin pads on and get the stick out.”

The cham­pi­onships wrapped up with a se­ries of nov­elty games, in­clud­ing a ju­niors’ match and skills con­tests, to cel­e­brate Na­tional Hockey Week.

Cook said it was all about em­pha­sis­ing the strong so­cial as­pect of the com­pe­ti­tion.

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Per­era

Hed­land's Fleur O'Neill lines up a shot in a game against the Kar­ratha 1 side.

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