Bellbowrie Hockey Club officials Matt George (president) and Andrew Boyle (vice president) at the Ipswich open day. Picture: David Lems
Bellbowrie Hockey Club officials Matt George (president) and Andrew Boyle (vice president) at the Ipswich open day. Picture: David Lems

Bellbowrie’s growing support to play at ‘convenient’ Ipswich

AS supporters of the Ipswich hockey competition since the early 2000s, Bellbowrie officials and players have made a valuable contribution to regional sport.

With a new season starting next month, key club people are working hard to entice newcomers for the years ahead.

Club president Matt George and vice president Andrew Boyle were among the active officials at the latest Ipswich Hockey Open Day at Raceview.

They welcomed newcomers to the sport and players keen to sign up for the 2021 season starting on March 12.

While working to field a number of teams across the grades, Bellbowrie is also holding separate introductory sessions at the Bellbowrie community sports complex starting on Wednesday.

"We are running a program for anybody really, any age, who think they might want to play hockey and have never tried it,'' Boyle said.

"And it has two purposes. That's the first.

"But it's also designed to give kids who are starting this year and want to continue on in the year, more confidence before they start a normal season.''

Two 45 minute sessions are planned on Wednesday from 4.30pm and 5.30pm.

In his 12th year with the club, Boyle said there was no obligation for those wanting to explore the enjoyment hockey offers.

"It's just exciting to go and give it a go, primarily to give the kids more confidence when they join a team,'' he said, acknowledging it is similar to Ipswich's successful Hookin2Hockey program held on Saturday mornings at Raceview.

"The kids that age can come to ours before they start the Hookin2Hockey program as well if they want,'' said Boyle, who still enjoys playing having started aged six.

Meanwhile, former soccer player George has increased his involvement in the club in recent years after his daughter played hockey.

He hopes the Strikers club can this year continue its strong link to Ipswich hockey.

"We're looking at junior teams - from Hookin2Hockey, which is 5s, 7s and 9s - E Grade, D Grade, C Grade,'' he said. "So 11, 13, 15 (year age divisions).

"Then we're looking at probably four senior women's teams and probably two senior men's teams at this stage.''

The club's highest level will be Reserve Grade.

"We had a combined team with Norths last year because of the COVID, because of numbers, but now we look like we are going to get a stand-alone Reserve Grade women's, probably a couple of R2 women's team, an A2 women's and probably an R2 men and A2 men at this stage,'' he said.

Surveying the Raceview fields behind him, George said Bellbowrie was keen to keep supporting the Ipswich competition based at the Raceview headquarters, despite having access to the Brisbane competition.

"The part that I say to people when they come to join Ipswich is you're at one place all the time,'' George said.

"You can train here during the week. You play here on the weekend no matter whether you are five or you're 55.

"You don't have to travel to Redcliffe or to the Gold Coast. You are just here. It's just the convenience of it.''

As for last year's COVID experience, George said "there were a lot of challenges, a lot of things we had to learn and do.

"But we had a good year as a club.

"We had slightly reduced numbers but we bandied together and got through it okay.''

More information on the Bellbowrie introductory sessions can be found at www.strikershockey.com.au and go to the events tab.



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