Ipswich Hockey Association president Margret Mantell.
Ipswich Hockey Association president Margret Mantell.

Enter through the right gate and wash shoes or its a red

IPSWICH Hockey has dramatically increased the penalty under a rule designed to better protect the association's turf fields.

Players who fail to enter through the right gate and correctly wash their shoes in the water trough will be issued with a red-card - and miss the game.

That player will not be replaced, leaving the offending team with 10 players on the field.

Coaches, managers, team officials and support staff who also flaunt the rule will be asked to leave the infield for the game.

Umpires who fail to follow the rule will lose their game payment.

The new rule started for last weekend's games at the Ipswich Hockey Complex. It applied to both synthetic fields.

After a grace period for offenders, action will be taken from this weekend.

Ipswich Hockey Association president Margret Mantell defended the rule which was passed at a recent management meeting. "We see it as a really serious issue,'' Mantell said.

"We want to maintain the fields so that we get the best life out of them. And that's the advice - to ensure that people are washing their feet because any little bits of grit, stones, grass that are carried onto the field obviously then have an affect of the life of the turf.''

Mantell said the association pays about $5000 a year to have the fields professionally cleaned twice a year.

"Every time they (cleaners) come, they comment about the grass or whatever else,'' she said.

"That's where the discussion started from. How we could make players and everyone aware that it's not just a rule to be pedantic and it is not frivolous.

"It really is serious that we have to look after the turf.''

Mantell said the management committee's main request was that people entering the field use the in-gate and wash their shoes.

Players should leave Ipswich's two turf hockey fields via the separate exit gate.

Mantell offered a driving analogy to help explain the situation.

"It's a bit like if you drove the wrong way up a one-way street - you are not going to argue and say, 'I shouldn't get a penalty' because I just decided I wanted to go the wrong way'," she said.

"They (the gates) are clearly marked and now the penalty is clearly out there."

Ipswich Hockey officials, tech officials and umpires will police the rule as people enter the Raceview fields for matches.

"We are not trying to be Big Brother," she said.

"We're just trying to make people aware and accept the responsibility of their actions and that there are penalties.

"The rule has always been there that you have to go through the water troughs. It's just that the penalties we've had previously don't seem to be working as a deterrent.

"It (the rule) will be reviewed.

"In a couple of months, it might be decided that the (offending) player gets a red card but the team can replace them.

"Hopefully teams will work together to make sure that they go through the water.''

Regular players from other centres like Toowoomba have been informed about the new rule.

Mantell said additional signage would make it clear at the complex.



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