Two composite teams selected from current and former state players across the Over 50s to Over 65s age groups fought out two very competitive hockey games last weekend to celebrate the 2021 Masters Hockey season and to acknowledge the end of a tumultuous season which saw the Australian Masters Championships cancelled.

Along with a large contingent of WA State Master’s players from a variety of metro clubs, were players from Lake Grace, Peel, Bunbury and Busselton who made the effort to get to Perth to play in this inaugural event.

Tammy Cowan, WA Masters State Over-40 Coach and Jo Sgro, the Over-55s Coach. prepared their teams well, with both teams firing up from the starting whistle.

The first game saw WA Black take the lead with Anna Taylor scoring a great breakaway goal set up by Julie Waddell. WA Gold replied with a classic field goal from the top of the circle by Deb Whiting, to draw the game at 1-1.

Going into Day 2, WA Black controlled much of the first half and again scored first with a penalty corner goal from Robin Himbeck, a long-term Australian Masters representative player.

WA Gold however, managed to shift the impetus of the game in the second half and replied with a strong rebound goal by Sally Dare to make the final score once again, a one all draw (to draw the series).

Credit should be given to the four goalkeepers who shared duties across the two games to make multiple saves to keep the crowd on their toes.

The quality of the hockey was evident and enhanced by the even-handed umpiring of Cheryl Murphy and Dave Ferguson.

The winning team, was left to WA Master’s Hockey icon Laurie Packham (Australian representative from the 1960’s), to decide who should win the Challenge Cup with WA Black taking the honours. Players agreed that the format of composite teams worked well and hope that the Challenge Cup will become a regular event.

It was heartening to see the Over-65s age group so well represented with eight players, most of whom have played Masters Hockey at State and Australian level numerous times. All players and spectators were amazed at the prowess of three players, Janice Arcus, Karen Allan and Pattie Davis who are still playing strong at over 70 years of age.

Both teams got together for lunch on Saturday and a sundowner on Sunday following the games to share stories and celebrate being part of a state master’s hockey community.

Team Managers, Pat Scott and Sharen Mitchell kept teams organised and the sponsors, Emergency Triage Services, helped keep players safe through ambulance, physio and emergency medicine services via Star Physio and St John Ambulance.