Gloucester Hockey Club awaits its fate for grand final spot in Manning Valley competition

One of Gloucester Panthers younger players, Ryan Beggs in action during a game this season. Photo Scott Calvin
One of Gloucester Panthers younger players, Ryan Beggs in action during a game this season. Photo Scott Calvin

The Gloucester Panthers' grand final spot is in limbo after COVID restrictions put the Manning Valley hockey competition on hold.

The division three men's team was due to take to the field at 4pm on Saturday August 14, when the NSW government announced a snap lockdown for 5pm only hours before the game was to begin.

This was just another blow to the already strained season which started late due to the March flood event.

Players were due to take to the field on April 16 but the competition was held up waiting for the waterlogged Alan Taylor Field to be cleared by MidCoast Council for use.

The season finally kicked off on April 30 with two of the three surfaces ready for play.

Before the statewide lockdown the Gloucester Hockey Club was sitting equal fourth with the Taree Tigers.

The Panthers needed to get a few wins under their belts in the final three weeks of the regular season in order to secure a position in the finals.

With the lockdown being extended, it's now possible that Gloucester will miss out on the opportunity if it comes to a determination based on points scored.

The Tigers finished up the last round before lockdown ahead on the goal tally.

Over the weekend, the chairperson of the Manning Valley senior match committee, Tony Lewis, put a call out to all clubs to vote on what to do in regard to the grand final.

The three options being voted on are to keep the grand final date the same on Saturday, September 18, moved it back a week to Saturday September 25, or push it back to the October long week with the matches to be held on Saturday October 2.

According to Gloucester Hockey Club secretary, Dave Keen the team is divided on its opinion.

"Some players want to keep going, while others are happy to let it go," Dave said.

"It's been such a strange season."

The outcome of the individual club votes will be taken to the Manning Valley Hockey Association board meeting on Tuesday night August 24 for a final decision.