GAME ON: Grafton's Sarah Donnelly in action during last year's NSW under-15 titles. Grafton will host the NSW under-13 boys carnival in July. Photo: Debrah Novak
GAME ON: Grafton's Sarah Donnelly in action during last year's NSW under-15 titles. Grafton will host the NSW under-13 boys carnival in July. Photo: Debrah Novak Debrah Novak

Grafton Hockey excited about a big year ahead

IF 2013 was considered a big year in Grafton hockey, 2014 will blow your socks off.

The year may only be two days old but the Grafton Hockey Association is well on the way to ensuring the Clarence Valley will in the next three years host some of the state's biggest hockey competitions.

GHA sport administration officer Joel Ward said two state championships were among the events set to be staged in Grafton.

"We're pretty happy as far as tournaments go," he said.

"We've got two state titles this year and are hoping both junior and senior Kelly Cups go ahead.

"The local competitions haven't been sorted just yet but we'll have discussions with the women's association and competition committee to make sure everything runs smoothly."

One of the GHA's biggest aims this year is to ensure the continued development of coaches with an accreditation course to be run by Nate Butterfield already on the agenda (more on p29).

GHA will host the over-55 and over-63 state championships in March but it's the under-13 boys state championship that has Ward most excited.

"The under-13 boys championship is usually as good as it gets," he said.

"It will probably fill most of the hotels/motels around town and there'll be plenty of people; all the players and their families."

The tournament will be played from July 17-20, just five days after the annual July Racing Carnival wraps up.

It represents a golden period for the Clarence Valley, which will be able to market itself to thousands of people.

The staging of the hockey tournament can only enhance the reputation of the Valley as a sporting mecca, which could help bring even bigger events to town in future.

"This year we will be nominating for events up to 2017," Ward said.

"Hockey NSW decides on where each one will be every three years. I wasn't around to nominate for these championships but I will be for these.

"We're going to try and get as much as we can get. We're a little hamstrung when it comes to bigger events like the men's open titles as they usually need the three fields.

"We'll be trying to get a few state titles and the City v Country games."



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