Wests recruit Todd Watson chases a Hancocks player who is trying to control the ball during last weekend’s A-grade match.
Wests recruit Todd Watson chases a Hancocks player who is trying to control the ball during last weekend’s A-grade match.

Hancocks saddling up for season

WHEN you're an elder statesman of Ipswich hockey like Brent Nicholls, your experience is invaluable.

So are your opinions.

That's why Hancocks are headed for successful times, if they rise above complacency, according to Nicholls.

The former national league player sees similarities between the current Hancocks side and the Easts unit that's dominated the Ipswich A-grade competition for the past four years.

"I personally think Hancocks are pretty much where Easts were a few years ago," said Nicholls, 38.

"Where they had lots of good juniors and if they win one (premiership), they'll probably win a few in a row."

After a disappointing 4-2 loss to Norths in their season opener, Hancocks showed what they are capable of in surprising Wests 4-0 on Saturday night.

"We made a grand final last year because everyone played every game as hard as they could," the stalwart said.

"Last week I think when we got 2-1 up, we stopped. We had complacency from making the final last year.

"That didn't happen today (against Wests).

"As long as we put in all the time, we'll have a solid year."

Nicholls proved he still has some spark in his ageing legs by scoring Hancocks' fourth goal.

His field goal came after Trent Davison displayed fine initiative to score from the hit-off following halftime at Raceview.

Skilful forward Peter Mitchell then slammed in a penalty corner and a field goal to leave Nicholls to finish the job.

"I'm loving it," Nicholls said of why he's still playing and his role helping younger players.

"To be honest, that's the most fun you can have.

"Young guys like JB (Jarrod Brown) and Josh (Davies) and Pav (Dean Pavitt) are good kids. And Pete (Mitchell) had a good game tonight. He's just got to do it all the time.

"They are the future of the club."

Nicholls has been one of Ipswich's most successful players and coaches for many years. The former Wests player joined Hancocks last season after having a season off.

He's playing his 24th season of A-grade, having plenty to look forward to off the field as well.

Nicholls and long-time friend Amy Chalk are getting married in November.

Back on the field and Nicholls sees Saturday's 5.30pm game against the premiers as a gauge of where Hancocks are.

"It's our third game and playing Easts, they are going to be the benchmark as they always are," he said.

"I think it will be a real even comp."

Norths held Easts to a 3-3 draw in the other A-grade game last weekend.

In the Ipswich women's A-grade competition, Swifts outclassed Thistles 8-2 and Norths beat Bellbowrie 1-0.



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