Manning hockey season cancelled

Gloucester Panthers' Harry Moore and Cundletown Cougars' Nick Atkins in action during the 2021 hockey season. Photo Scott Calvin
Gloucester Panthers' Harry Moore and Cundletown Cougars' Nick Atkins in action during the 2021 hockey season. Photo Scott Calvin

MANNING Hockey Association has decided to cancel the remainder of the season.

This follows a board meeting held earlier this week and a Zoom meeting between association president Tony Barton and club presidents on Thursday night (September 2).

Mr Barton said the decision was close to unanimous. He added that no premierships would be awarded.

"We only had a 13 round season and we don't think that's indicative of a full competition,'' Mr Barton said.

"And there were also a number of deferred games that had to be played.

"It might have been different if we were up to the grand finals. But the precedent was set last year when premierships weren't awarded.''

Mr Barton said the welfare of players and spectators was the main concern along with potential problems in enforcing COVID-19 regulations.

"We're only a small association and it would be difficult for us to police things like social distancing and wearing masks,'' he pointed out.

Mr Barton said the association would now concentrate on preparations for 2022.

He said the decision brings to an end what had been a challenging year, starting in March when the majority of the Taree Hockey Centre at the Taree Recreation Ground was flooded. This forced the association to delay the start of the season while damage to the Terry Launders Field ruled it out for the year.

The association was also to host two major events - the State men's over 55 championships and the half State women's championships. Both were eventually cancelled in late June as the COVID-19 crisis intensified in Sydney. Manning hopes to conduct both in 2022.

This association was also to host the inaugural grand finals of the Mid North Coast Hockey League on Saturday, August 14. This competition involved division one men's and women's sides from the Manning and Hastings associations.

Taree Tigers and Port Thunder were due to meet in the women's game, with Taree club Sharks and Camden Haven to face off in the men. The women's game was to start at 4pm, the men at 5.30.

However, the grand finals didn't go ahead after the State government imposed a Statewide lockdown starting at 5pm that day.

Mr Barton is in his first year as president and agreed it has been at times, testing.

"But hopefully that's all behind us now and we'll look forward to a better 2022,'' he said.