Hockey's third synthetic surface field will be right for new season

Manning Hockey Association's third synthetic surface field will be in play for the 2018 season.
Manning Hockey Association's third synthetic surface field will be in play for the 2018 season.

MANNING Hockey Association’s third synthetic surface field will be in play for the start of the new season in March.

Preliminary work began this week to lay the carpet and given favourable conditions this will be completed by the end of next month.

Extensions to the association’s clubhouse will also be ready in time for the new season, association chair Debbie Monck confirmed.

Work started on the project midway through last year and will be finished on time.

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Ms Monck said the association will begin talks with clubs from this month regarding changes to the structure of the competition with the three turf fields in play. The association's annual meeting will be held this month.

Matches have been played on Thursday and Friday nights along with Saturday and Saturday nights when two fields were available.

“It might mean we drop one of the nights – move to Friday/Saturday or Thursday/Saturday,’’ Ms Monck explained.

“But we’ll be getting feedback from the clubs before we make any decision. This isn’t something the board can do without consultation.

“We play our junior fixtures at the same venue and the same time each week and this works well for parents,’’ she said.

“We’re a family friendly sport in that regard.

“We won’t be doing anything to risk that. However, we might schedule some of our older junior grades, from under 15s up on the new turf to play some games at night, so they get the experience of playing under lights.’’

Ms Monck added that the extra field should ensure no games being played in the later time slots on Saturday evenings.

“We want our competitions to grow and having the three fields will definitely help,’’ she said.

The association will host the NSW under 13 girls championships from July 5 to 8. Ms Monk confirmed the third field will enable to association to host even bigger events in the future.

She said negotiations have already started with Hockey NSW along with MidCoast Council regarding applications for major events.

As none of the synthetic surface fields are water-based it is unlikely the Manning would be granted national championships.

“But in the past we’ve hosted one of the biggest carnivals there is – the NSW women's masters – when we had the two turf fields,’’ she added.

On that occasion the association had to employ a number of the now rarely used grass fields for matches. Three turf fields will mean there would be less dependence of the grass fields.

“That means we won’t less concerns about wet weather,’’ Ms Monck pointed out.