Mid North Coast Premier League hockey concept scrapped

Chatham's Sam Ferguson promotes the ball during last season's Mid North Coast Premier League grand final. The premier league concept has been scrapped for 2018.
Chatham's Sam Ferguson promotes the ball during last season's Mid North Coast Premier League grand final. The premier league concept has been scrapped for 2018.

HASTINGS teams look sure to play in Manning Hockey Association’s men’s and women’s division one competitions this year.

However, the Mid North Coast Premier League concept will be scrapped.

Manning Hockey president Debbie Monck said the association has been approached by Hastings to enter teams in the elite competitions. Last year two men’s teams played in the Mid North Coast Premier League.

The premier league was a stand alone competition contested by six sides, with two from Port Macquarie. It was resurrected in 2017 after a two year hiatus. The grand final was decided before the start of the Manning semi-finals, unlike other years when the Manning division one grand final and premier league grand final were played a week apart – often by the same two teams.

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Manning sides dominated, with Chatham defeating Tigers in the decider. Chatham also won the Manning division one premiership.

Ms Monck said the two Port sides struggled to be competitive.

“The premier league under last year’s format won’t happen,’’ she confirmed.

Instead, Hastings could enter one side in the Manning men’s and women’s division one competitions.

“At this stage the Hastings association doesn’t  have the depth of players to field two teams in a premier league,’’ Ms Monck said.

Ms Monck added that some Hastings players who opted to turn out with Manning men’s sides last season may decide to switch to the northern combination.

She explained the Hastings sides playing in the Manning competitions will be an amalgam of players from different teams. Ms Monck believes this will provide more competition for the Manning clubs. It will mean there will be five teams in both competitions, assuming there is the same representation of Manning sides.

Ms Monck hopes that Hastings would eventually be in the position to field more sides in the elite grades.

Ms Monck said she is ‘reasonably confident’ there will be a Hastings presence in the Manning division one competitions this year.

“The Hastings association approached us with the idea, so we’re expecting they will follow through with it,’’ she said.