Manning Hockey Association

AGE shall not weary – Manning hockey players Bob Bruce and Peter Cubbin have just arrived home from Adelaide where they were members of the WacaTahs side that won the inaugural Australian over 75 championship.

Bruce is 75 while Cubbin, at just 73, had to get special dispensation to play.

“We didn’t get enough nominations from NSW to form a team,’’ Bruce explained.

“So we received an invitation to play with Western Australia Country to make up a side. That’s where they got the name (WacaTahs) from.’’

The five strong NSW contingent first had to get permission from Hockey Australia to switch allegiances.

There were four teams involved, with the WacaTahs going through the preliminary rounds undefeated. However, the final against Western Australia Metro, was a close run thing.

“There was a fair bit of friction between the two sides,’’ Bruce added.

The scores were locked at the final whistle, but it was a goal by Bruce that broke the deadlock in the shoot out.

Bruce played centre forward. Cubbin was initially named off the bench, but according to Bruce he spent more time on the field, playing on the wing. He was the leading goal scorer in the tournament.

“Peter played really well,’’ Bruce said.

Bruce said the standard was strong. He believes the WacaTahs’ comparative youth gave them the edge.

"The other sides had players in their 80s,’’ he explained.

However, there was a major off-field drama. The championships were held when the devastating storms hit South Australia and resulted in State-wide blackouts.

“I’ve never seen rain like it,’’ Bruce said.

“We were lucky, we were at our accommodation when the storm hit. But we had no power for a day.

The tempest also disrupted the championship.

Bruce is one of Manning hockey’s pioneers. He’s still playing with Tigers in the third grade competition along with the masters matches. He was a member of the Australian over 75 team that won the world championship in Newcastle earlier this year.

He survived a near-fatal heart attack playing hockey five years ago in Sydney. Bruce assures he’s enjoying the game as much as ever and he can still get around the field pretty well.

“The condition’s okay,’’ he said.

“So while the legs don’t fail me I’ll keep going.’’

However, he doesn't think he’ll nominate for next year's over 75 national championship.

“It’s in Hobart,’’ he said.

“I don't like it down there – it’s too cold.’’

Gold strike: Peter Cubbin and Bob Bruce with their gold medals won at the Australian over 75 hockey championships.

Gold strike: Peter Cubbin and Bob Bruce with their gold medals won at the Australian over 75 hockey championships.