Action from last Saturday’s A-grade hockey match between Bellbowrie and Wests.
Action from last Saturday’s A-grade hockey match between Bellbowrie and Wests. Carl Groenewald

Saturday arvo at the hockey the best time to watch

OPINION


HOW enjoyable it was to finally get to see an A-grade hockey match this season.

I hope there's more to come.

While it was a bit chilly at the Ipswich Hockey Complex last Saturday afternoon, it was still a terrific venue to watch sport.

Seeing the Bellbowrie women hold the talented young Wests side to a 2-2 draw provided an entertaining way to spend an hour or two before heading home to warmer conditions.

As far as I'm concerned, playing hockey on a Saturday afternoon is an ideal time.

But sadly, there's been limited opportunities this year due to the sporadic match scheduling.

As someone who enjoys covering hockey in Ipswich, I've been frustrated not having games in sensible time slots this year.

Instead of previous 2.30pm, 4pm and 5.30pm Saturday A-grade games, this year we've had a stack of Sunday afternoon games, on the same time as the major football codes.

In a competitive sporting environment, it makes sense to try and secure the best coverage you can these days. It helps attract sponsors and builds a wider public profile when your sport is regularly featured in the QT and our growing digital platform.

But I understand one reason for the schedule changes. That is to allow better players to be dual registered and line up in the Ipswich and Brisbane competitions.

In previous years, it was a lottery which A-grade players would turn up when Brisbane games were on at the same time as Ipswich matches.

From what I've heard chatting to A-grade coaches, the new arrangement allows more players to be part of both competitions.

Whether that is necessarily a good thing in the longer term is open to debate, especially when Ipswich only has a three-team A-grade men's competition this season.

However, that aside, I can't see why at least one A-grade men's or women's match can't be scheduled each Saturday in the 4pm timeslot.

Even for a seasoned sports reporter like me, it's difficult covering the sports you enjoy over the phone, especially with so many people unavailable through the day.

In previous years, I regularly caught an A-grade men's and women's match most weeks, which provided consistent coverage and better quality stories and photos.

While I'm still trying valiantly to maintain hockey's deserved profile this year, it's proving a challenge with so many other sports demanding attention.

Hopefully, there's some more Saturday afternoon hockey games before the finals.

It was terrific last Saturday to receive a warm welcome on my latest visit. I have missed that in recent months.

But it's up to Ipswich Hockey, or more likely the clubs, to support a more satisfactory match schedule.



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