STICKING TO IT: Dave Dart with the ball at the pre-season seven-a-side hockey competition as Grafton City Bears takes on Coraki in the A-grade. Photo: Leigh Jensen
STICKING TO IT: Dave Dart with the ball at the pre-season seven-a-side hockey competition as Grafton City Bears takes on Coraki in the A-grade. Photo: Leigh Jensen

Sevens tournament success despite makeshift teams

HOCKEY season is definitely fast approaching as the first major pre-season hit-out, the Mike Rowe-Dawn Scott Memorial Seven-a-side Hockey Carnival took place on Saturday.

The tournament which in the past has only featured the four Grafton sides - Royals, Bears, Sailors and Barbarians - opened its doors to teams from Coraki and Ballina to be a part of the carnival.

Grafton City Bears captain Dave Dart said the carnival was a great success despite the tough conditions experienced by the players.

"It was bloody hot," Dart said. "It was a good day but the heat did take its toll on the body."

Dart sees the carnival as a good training run to get the team into some match fitness ahead of the new season.

"Basically it was a bit of a training run for all the boys," he said. "We started off a bit scratchy but ended up coming good to finish the day as joint first place."

With many players missing on the day teams were forced to make makeshift sides out of First Grade and Reserve Grade players, with the Grafton City Bears even calling back a familiar face from Grafton hockey alumni.

"We sort of had a bit of a makeshift side because we had a bunch of boys away for the weekend. We pulled a young bloke Riley Crocker up to the side who's only just begun playing men's hockey.

"Robbie Green also came back and had a run with us. He's been playing in the Sydney leagues for a while now but he was up for the weekend and was willing to jump in with the team on the day. That was a really good thing to see."

The competition was put together by Sailors Hockey Club president Darryl Clark along with support from the Grafton Hockey Association. Dart said that Clark did a fantastic job in organising the event and was very pleased with how the day was run.

Opening the competition up to more clubs from up north allowed the competition to grow to around 28 teams all up which Dart said made for a very competitive day.

"It was great to get some of the sides down from the North," he said. "In the end we had about 28 teams playing on the fields so it was a whole lot of fun and made the day even more competitive."



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