Four of Parkes’ female hockey veterans have returned home from the Australian titles, two clutching gold medals.
Maureen Massey (NSW Over 65s), Jane Grosvenor (NSW Blues Over 45s), Denise Gersbach (NSW Over 45s) and Lee Hodge (Over 40s South Australia team) joined 1500 others to compete at the 2018 Australian Women's Masters Hockey Tournament in Bunbury and Busselton in Western Australia from September 27 to October 6.
Parkes was even represented among the managers ranks, with Donna Payne the Over 45s NSW Blues team manager.
Massey's Over 65s team went through the tournament undefeated and came up against Victoria in the gold medal match.
The match was drawn 1-1 at the final whistle with a penalty shoot-out required to determine the winner.
Massey was well prepared as goalkeeper for the penalty shoot-out after plenty of training for shoot-outs in the lead up to the championships. She ensured a gold medal for her side after a stellar performance in the shoot-out.
Gersbach’s Over 45s team also went through undefeated and came up against Queensland in the gold medal match, which NSW won 3-0 in a strong team performance.
Gersbach scored six goals throughout the tournament and was awarded the Over 45s division leading goal scorer award at the medal presentation.
“The leading goalscorer award was a nice surprise, it was the last thing I had expected,” Gersbach said.
“The whole team played so well and we had no major injuries, although we are sure feeling the after-effects in our bodies,” she laughed.
“The competition is at a really high standard; just because they’re older ladies doesn’t mean they’re not determined or aggressive.”
Grosvenor’s and Payne’s Over 45s Blues team enjoyed a solid tournament, with the team improving in every match throughout the titles and finishing fourth.
Grosvenor was a leading defender for her team having an outstanding tournament and Payne enjoyed her first off-field personnel position for the Blues.
She’s hoping for further appointments in the future.
Hodge’s Over 40s South Australia team played a very good tournament with great improvement on their 2017 campaign.
South Australia had some very narrow losses to some of the top teams and finished the tournament with two solid wins and a fifth position.
Hodge was thrilled to be named on the leadership team on her arrival to Bunbury and was an intergral part of the defensive unit for her team.
At the closing ceremony Gersbach and Massey were named in the Australian teams for Over 45s and Over 65s respectively that will compete at the biennial Trans-Tasman Challenge against New Zealand on the Gold Coast in early May 2019.
The challenge features seven men’s and seven women’s teams from Over 35s to Over 65s. Each team plays three test matches and points are tallied for both countries to determine the overall winning country.
Gersbach said the national titles bring together some amazing athletes from all over Australia.
“It’s a great opportunity to catch up with friends from interstate and play some good hockey,” she said.
“It’s fantastic us all being together for something we really, really like doing. The competition was fantastic and everyone enjoyed it. The WA support was brilliant. The towns were really great and so were the turfs we played on.
“It’s a great tournament to have because it means that people can continue playing hockey into the future.
“It is never too late to start and you are never too old to play.”