Tasmania is a long way to go for a game of hockey, but there was no substitute for the Australian Masters Games for three keen local players from Mount Isa.
Held in Devonport, North West Tasmania from October 21 to 28, the 16th Australian Masters Games was a week-long festival of sport and fun, with games running from 8am to 7pm every day.
Mount Isa players Damian Lee, Mark Liddle and Justin Moffit joined a friend’s team needing an a few extra players, and ended up winning gold for the over 40 Men’s division.
Damian is a mining inspector for Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM), and a key player for T-Birds hockey club in Mount Isa.
“The three of us from Mount Isa joined in a team called the Night Sticks who are predominantly a police team from around Australia,” Lee said.
Lee said there was a wonderful atmosphere at the Australian Masters Games.
“It was a really good bunch of games. There were people from around Australia, beautiful facilities in Devonport, they were a couple of hundred metres from the beach, and great weather as well.”
Nightsticks played five games in Devonport, and Lee also umpired four games including the 35 Women’s gold final.
“It was good fun. And it was nice to play on artificial turf, which we don’t have here," Lee said.
"The difference is its smoother, faster, and your game play is a lot different. It’s a very fast game.”
The trip follows on from Isa Tatas heading to Auckland, New Zealand, in April for the 2017 World Masters Games over 35s hockey tournament.
Lee said it was nice to catch up with players he had met at the World Masters Games.
“We’d do our game, I’d do my umpiring, and then we were able to sit down and watch a few games. It’s all in the same centre for the hockey.”
Different sports were being played all over the North West coast for the World Masters Games.
Next year the Isa Tatas are heading to the Pan Pacific Games on the Gold Coast, and are currently fundraising by selling hot dogs at The Buff’s Club.
“Were taking the team away for that. Because of the ages we’re going to have to go into the over 30s,” Lee said.
"So we’ll be looking to actually get some of the younger guys from Mount Isa to come away with us, if we can.”