INTERCITY ISSUE: Easts player Kyle Sippel tussles with a Red Lion opponent during Saturday night’s latest Combined Competition final at the Ipswich Hockey Complex.
INTERCITY ISSUE: Easts player Kyle Sippel tussles with a Red Lion opponent during Saturday night’s latest Combined Competition final at the Ipswich Hockey Complex. Claudia Baxter

Case for Sunday A-grade grows

SHOULD all A-grade hockey matches be played on Sundays in Ipswich?

It's a hot issue linked directly to the challenges created by dual registration.

The concern is the number of Ipswich players who miss games at Raceview due to Saturday commitments with Brisbane clubs.

A-grade fixtures in the Ipswich and Brisbane competitions regularly clash on Saturdays.

Easts coach Darren Manson shares similar views expressed by Hancocks counterpart Martin Flanigan and Norths mentor Jamie Burns.

After his team overcame Toowoomba Red Lion 3-1 in Saturday night's Combined Competition final, Manson hoped Sunday A-grade matches could be considered in the future.

"They've got to do something with the competition to be able to play when all teams are full-strength, to get full value for people watching,'' Manson said.

Manson's concern is the number of Ipswich and Toowoomba players unavailable for Saturday A-grade matches at both centres.

"The preference is to play in Brisbane and that's fair enough because it's the best comp,'' he said.

"Whether they just play the (Ipswich) men's comp on a Sunday, I don't know. That's something they need to look at I think.

"To get people out here is important. You've got to come out and watch the best players.

"They're available on a Sunday.''

Manson said having Ipswich A-grade games that day allowed players to develop by going to Brisbane on Saturday before returning for local club sides the next day.

"Then you get the best of the best players and you get a better competition,'' he said, "and you don't have one week where teams are winning nine, 10 nil. It's no good for the game.''

Hancocks A-grade men's coach Martin Flanigan agrees the Ipswich competition is severely weakened by having regular A-grade games on Saturdays.

"I've made my point of view known to the association that we should be playing Friday, Sunday fixtures,'' Flanigan said.

"There's got to be a solution because I can't really stop these guys playing in a strong competition.''

Burns supported Flanigan's suggestion, especially during the annual intercity competition.

"What I'd like to see personally is our games played Friday or Sunday so every team - not just us - can have all the big guns play so you have got a pretty good comp,'' Burns said.

"Brisbane plays Saturday and if we play Friday night or Sunday, every team would be able to field full-strength sides week in, week out.''

The former A-grade player was confident he could organise a team to travel to Toowoomba for Friday night games if given enough notice.

However, the downside of having more Sunday games is the clash with other major regional sports.

Sunday afternoon is the time major rugby league and football games are often played in Ipswich, meaning hockey would miss out on the consistent coverage it is currently guaranteed with Saturday afternoon scheduling.

What do you think?

Email your thoughts to: qtsport@qt.com.au

Should all A-grade hockey matches be played on Sundays in Ipswich?

This poll ended on 30 July 2014.

Current Results

Yes

69%

No

30%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

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