Triservice sides' hockey mastery

This article has photo gallery Published on CPL Sebastian Beurich (author), CPL Peter Borys (photographer)

Location(s): Gold Coast, Queensland

Topic(s): Hockey

Petty Officer Talei Stoll competes for the ball during the match against the Blitzers. (photo: CPL Peter Borys)
Petty Officer Talei Stoll competes for the ball during the match against the Blitzers.

The Australian Defence Force Hockey Masters put in some winning performances at the Pan Pacific Masters Games at Jupiters on the Gold Coast in November.
 
Defence entered three teams – men’s over-30s, over-40s and women’s over-30s – with both over-30s teams winning gold.
 
Warrant Officer Aircraft Technician Avionics William McConnell, who played in the men’s over-30s team, said the competition allowed Australian Defence Force Hockey to extend the playing career of their “old and bolds”.
 
“The competition gives players an opportunity to continue to represent their service and association outside of the ‘open’ Australian Country Championships," he said.
 
“It’s part of our masters commitment and allows the association to continue to support our players across a wider age demographic."
 
“We ended up playing a local Brisbane team in the final, but unfortunately the game was called off at half-time due to severe weather, which flooded the field. Luckily we were up 1-0 at that point, so we won the gold in the competition."
 
“It was good for some of the junior players to wear the Australian Defence Force ensign on their chest and play some good hockey,” Warrant Officer McConnell said.
 
Army Corporal Jackleen MacArthur said the women’s over-30s side won the gold despite fierce opposition.
 
“There were some teams in the competition who were really good, so we had to make sure we played our structure against them," she said.
 
“Other teams we could just have a really good time playing against, and work on the things we needed to fix."
 
“We didn’t lose a game throughout the tournament, so it was great going into the final knowing we all got along well together and worked well as a team. It was really good to play with a
great bunch of women."
 
Royal Australian Air Force Sergeant Shane Thurston, who played on the over-40s team, said it was great catching up with the other regular teams during the competition.
 
“We didn’t go too badly overall, finishing fifth in the over-40s ladder. On paper, it doesn’t look like a great result, but usually, the over-40s team gets beaten pretty soundly."
 
“We lost one game 3-2 and two games 2-1, so our games this year were a lot closer than in the past."
 
“Our final was played at 11 am on Remembrance Day, so before the start of the match, both teams lined up and observed a minute’s silence."
 
“The Gold Coast team came up to us after the game and said it was something that would stay with them for a long time,” Sergeant Thurston said.
 
The Pan Pacific Masters Games is a biennial competition which brings together 20,000 athletes to compete in more than 30 sports during the eight-day competition.
 
The master’s category of competition is reserved for athletes who are more than 30 years old.