Mount Isa over 35s hockey team the Tatas have returned from their tour of New Zealand, playing in the 2017 World Masters Games over 35s hockey tournament.
Tatas coach Ray Towler described it as “like the olympic games, for people over 35 years old.”
Towler said it was a fun-filled experience for the Mount Isa team and its Australia compatriots.
“We had 11 Mount Isa players one Gympie players, and three from Western Australia,” Towler said.
The idea for a trip came about as a celebration for a teammate’s mother-in-law.
“She always goes over there and for her 60th birthday she wanted her daughter to come, then she asked her son-in-law if he wanted to bring a team across,” Raymond said.
“Late one Saturday night on the hockey field we talked about it and said “yep, we’ll do that”.”
They entered the competition in October last year and gathered interested players for seven games in Auckland.
From April 19 to April 30 Tatas competed in the over 35s social team in the B grade against all New Zealand teams.
World Masters Games brings together teams from all over the world to compete for the over 35s championship title.
“Brazil had an army team, South Africa had four or five teams, there were players from Canada playing in among other teams, there was even a British men’s navy team there,” Towler said.
“It went right from over 35 teams to over 60 teams, so it’s a big deal.”
While Towler admitted Tatas is more of a social team, he said the competitive spirit was in full force.
“We were playing in the B pool which is social, but the A pool weren’t so social. They were pretty much there to win.”
“One of the ladies teams was actually the ex-New Zealand team. They’ve all stuck together and they actually won the 35 year old A grade womens comp,” he said.
Two of the players’ partners went along with them, one playing hockey herself and one acting as the team’s photographer.
Toweler said the team played well despite their hectic schedule and a few injuries.
“Seven games in nine days took a toll on us, the first three games we weren’t too bad but by our sixth game we were all pretty much... buggered,” he said.
“Bar two or three players, that would have been the most amount of games they had played in a row.”
After the competition was over some players stayed on for a holiday, visiting Auckland City, Athenary, Rotorua, and Waihi.
The tournament was held at North Harbour Hockey Stadium on Auckland’s North Shore.