MASTER OF HOCKEY: John Parker (middle) will play for the NSW Over 50 Division 1 team. He will be one of 1500 players from 80 teams to hit the turf when Far North Coast Hockey hosts the 2018 Australian Men's Masters Championships from September 21 to October 6.
MASTER OF HOCKEY: John Parker (middle) will play for the NSW Over 50 Division 1 team. He will be one of 1500 players from 80 teams to hit the turf when Far North Coast Hockey hosts the 2018 Australian Men's Masters Championships from September 21 to October 6. Shez Napper

1500 hockey players to descend on Lismore, Ballina

EIGHTY hockey teams, 1500 players and hundreds of supporters will descend on the Northern Rivers for the Australian Men's Masters Championships next month.

For just over two golden weeks between September 21 to October 6, local hockey fans have a great opportunity to get up close and see some of the best players in the country as they duke it out on fields at Lismore and Ballina.

Far North Coast Hockey AMMC organising chair, Trevor Dancer, said the organisation is thrilled to be hosting for the championships for the first time on two sites, including the organisation's recently upgraded state-of-the-art facility at Hepburn Park, Goonellabah.

"We have two world-class turfs at Goonellabah and a similar facility in Ballina at Kingsford Smith Park," he said.

"Over the course of the 16 days we will have around 300 games played, with 200 in Lismore and 100 in Ballina, and there will be more than 3500 people visiting the region to watch the games."

Mr Dancer who will be playing in the 65 years young and over division, said teams are travelling from all Australia to participate in the prestigious event.

He is also one of 27 Far North Coast players competing in the event for NSW teams.

He said another eight players from the region will be presenting teams from other states, "which is an amazing contingent from our small region".

"From country Western Australia to Tasmania and all over, we have 80 teams coming to our region for the championships, he said.

"We have the juniors who are the over 35 players, all the way up to the 75 and over, with our oldest player, an 82-year-old from Victoria."

Mr Dancer said he hopes local sporting clubs and hockey players too young to take the field will get into the spirit of the championships by stepping up to volunteer.

"We would love people to help put with the barbecues, tidying change rooms, with responsible serving of alcohol or barista skills," he said.

"As well anyone with technical skills who want the best seat at the games by helping out with the scoring and recording of statistics."

More information at https://www.facebook.com/fnchockey/



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