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Masters vie for Cup spot

Close to 1800 men’s masters hockey players from around Australia will descend on the South West next month for the 2019 national championships.

Busselton and Bunbury will host the event, with games split across the two cities’ hockey stadiums.

This year’s championship will be the biggest yet, with 83 teams taking part.

Divisions begin at over-35s and go through to over-75s.

The best players from the tournament will vie for selection for the Australian teams competing in the 2020 Masters World Cup events to be held in London, Cape Town and Tokyo.

WA Country is the only regional association that competes at the national level and will have 12 teams involved.

The first game of the event will see a WA Derby between WA Country and WA Metro at Bunbury Hockey Stadium.

WA Country player and Capel resident Vin Scott plays in the Over-60s. He said although the games were taken seriously, the social aspect of the masters competition was just as important.

“This will be my 22nd year of playing in the National Masters Hockey Championship — it’s a good level of hockey,” he said.

“Playing against guys in your own age division makes it a really good, even competition.

“It’s important for us when we get a bit older that we can continue with the sport that we enjoy for both health and social benefits.

“We use the tournament as a holiday most years, but Busselton is a really good place to play hockey.

“We have some great people at the club and we hope our visiting friends utilise what the region has to offer.” City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said the event would help raise the City’s status as a desirable holiday destination among the sporting community.

“These events attract large numbers of players, support crew and spectators and inject a significant amount of income into the local economy through retail, hospitality and accommodation expenditure,” he said. The championships begin on September 27.

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