Golden opportunity to reconnect

Fierce battle . . . The Temuka Maggies (pink) in action against Maniototo. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

An annual hockey tournament has again proved that age is just a number.

Opihi College was the battleground for this year’s edition of the women’s Golden Oldies Hockey Tournament as 202 players braved the early morning cold to take part.

The tournament, comprised of 14 teams from around the South Island, was held on May 17-19. It was the 39th time it had been held.

Tournament co-ordinator Betty Jackson said it was a great weekend despite the cold.

‘‘The teams played three games on the Saturday.

‘‘They only played 20 minute halves because that’s long enough for the old girls.

‘‘Every tournament has a different theme.

‘‘Because Covid had interrupted the last few we gave them different countries so we could see the world.

‘‘Sunday was a bit wet so we organised games inside the school hall.’’

Going strong . . . The Temuka Maggies get together for a team photo.

There was the usual competitiveness and fun sport, but the tournament was really about fellowship and everyone getting together again.

‘‘The tournament is done in great spirit, really.

‘‘It’s a lot of players that have played rep hockey for their provinces over the years and it’s just them getting back together and meeting up again.

‘‘There are people there that are 80-odd and they’re still playing.

‘‘I think people just like reconnecting but you can definitely still see the competitiveness coming out, though.

‘‘It’s just a really great time. It provides everyone with such good memories and plenty of things to look back on and have a laugh about.’’

A big highlight was the Saturday evening dinner.

‘‘They all just get dressed up like idiots.

‘‘The Temuka squad got dressed up as the pilot and the aeroplane and one of our girls brought their Labrador and had it sniffing them as they came in.

‘‘Then we had The Drama Queens perform . . . Everyone just danced the night away.’’

Warm welcome . . .Taking charge of the welcoming ceremony are (from left) Betty Jackson, former Black Stick Hayden Shaw and Bridget McAtamney.

She was thankful for the likes of Barkers, Temuka Transport, Heartland Potato Chips and the Pye Group for their sponsorship of the tournament.

‘‘We’re really lucky here to have so many big firms get in behind us and provide us with sponsorship.

‘‘It’s also a really good thing for every area it goes around.

‘‘All the motels were full in Temuka and Timaru so it’s a real boost for local economies.’’

Next year’s tournament is set to be held in Westport.

Jackson said they were looking at ways to include even more people.

‘‘Next year they are talking about including walking hockey.

‘‘One of the girls said it is played quite a lot up in Rangiora.

‘‘It’s really great for some of the older people who have crook hips or crook knees.

‘‘She said one of the hardest things, though, was making yourself refrain from running.

‘‘So next year on the Coast we’ll have normal hockey and we’ll look at having a go of that [walking] hockey as well which will be interesting.

‘‘It will be a really good way to keep people involved who were dropping out because they couldn’t physically run any more.’’