Gloucester Hockey Club to start in Manning competition this weekend

Bruce Snape has possession of the ball in front of the Gloucester Panthers dugout during a match on the TLF field during the 2020 season.
Bruce Snape has possession of the ball in front of the Gloucester Panthers dugout during a match on the TLF field during the 2020 season.

Manning Hockey Association will conduct a full competition this year using two synthetic surface fields.

Association president Tony Barton confirmed the Terry Launders Field (TLF) in Taree is out of play for the season after it was damaged in the March floods. Mr Barton said the association is still waiting on word what repair work will be required on the field.

"But any work we have to do will be carried out post-season,'' Mr Barton said.

He said the TLF is off limits to all activities.

"We won't even be training on it,'' he said.

The association's revamped season will now get underway on Friday April 30 and Saturday May 1. Before the floods the association had planned to start on Friday April 16 and Saturday April 17.

The lower section of the clubhouse and two of the three turf fields were damaged by the flooding and this delayed the start of the competition. The hockey centre has been closed while rehabilitation work has been carried out.

However, the third turf field wasn't impacted by the floods.

"After meeting with the insurance assessor we can now confirm that the centre will re-open on Monday April 26, pending the 'make safe' clean on Friday April 23,'' Mr Barton said.

Clubs can resume training from Monday April 26, in time for the start of the season on April 30.

"The good news for our members is that we'll be able to conduct a full season,'' Mr Barton said.

Earlier this month the association announced plans to add Thursday nights to the competition to cover for the loss of the TLF. However, Mr Barton said this now won't be the case.

"Tony Lewis has worked the draw around playing Friday nights, Saturday and Saturday nights,'' he said.

"We'll keep Thursday nights in reserve in case we need to play deferred games. But we won't be playing regularly on Thursdays, which is a good thing.''

Mr Barton said the association ran competitions using two turf fields for many years.

"We're only three years into the third turf,'' he pointed out.

"So only having two turfs is nothing new.''