Old hockey players never die ...
By STEVE SPINKS
IF you've heard the creaking of old joints around the Northern Rivers lately, you shouldn't be too surprised.
After all, the Australian veterans hockey championships were held at Unanderra recently.
Players from 35 to 65 gathered just south of Wollongong, where sales of Dencorub and ice packs went through the roof.
Ten local players turned out for various New South Wales teams and all were reasonably successful.
Two players from Alstonville, Mark McLennan and Terry Burnett, were part of the NSW 40 years and over Division 3 side that made it to the semi-finals before bowing out against eventual champions the Queensland Barras.
"It was a really good chance to play against other players from all over Australia," Burnett said.
"It's (the vets) played extremely seriously but at the end of the game both teams choose a players' player from the opposition and have a couple of beers.
"It's very competitive but there's no malice."
Club mate Andy Hiller turned out for the NSWOver-50s Division 2 team that also got knocked out in the semi-finals.
Burnett reported that all divisions were of a high standard.
Unfortunately, that high standard produced a high casualty rate.
"It was a long trip home," Burnett chuckled.
"The hamstrings and the calf muscles were struggling all the way.
"You couldn't get comfortable in the seats and we kept shifting around."
Other locals competing from the Northern Rivers were Warren Jenkins ? captain of the Over-45s Division 1 team ? Mick Bodley, Jim Savins, Clint Mallett, Phil Garred, Steve Garbut and Steve Hunter.
Terry Burnett reports that Alstonville Hockey Club will start training in January for the 2006 Far North Coast season.