Cape Town 2020 – Masters World Cup preparation has begun.
It was fitting that as the masters Hockey 45+ to 55+ age groups will be hosted in Cape Town; the first round of the trial process was held in Cape Town on the 12th May 2019. WPCC was the place to be on that early morning. There was a bit of mist around but that quickly burnt off and we were presented with a beautiful Cape Town morning.
We arrived at the club in the dark to set up to receive some 110 players for trials. We all met in the main room of the Club. As the players started arriving, it was a hive of activity as they checked their names, greeted old friends and caught up with each other. Introductions were made for newcomers. The selectors were busy with lists of names putting players into teams for the first games to begin.
It quietened down as Reg Marais, President of the South African Masters Hockey Association, started his welcome address and presentation. He gave a brief background and laid out the programme for the day. Reg commented that it was great to see the growth in numbers at the Cape Town trials from that of the previous World cup. Due to the response of the players attending trials in Cape Town, we had acquired the use of a third Astro at Bishops School, 3 kilometers away from WPCC.
The organization and preparation for the day started many months ago. An online registration process was set up. Invitations to attend were sent to all provinces, a thorough process was initiated for Coaches and Managers to apply for the various roles and Selectors were nominated. It was all coming together.
As the players started moving off, the atmosphere was one of excitement and some nervous energy was in the air. It was good to see some ex-national players in the mix.
The Men’s 35+ had an interesting start to their trials. We had been expecting about 20 players but due to various reasons, only about 13 arrived on the day. A plan had to be made.
By some interesting turn of events, the Western Province U18 were practicing on the turf and instead of asking them to leave, they decided this would be a good way to see the 35+ group in action. A game was arranged, and they took to the field. It turned out to be a good game to watch as well as being a very competitive game. So far so good.
The 40+ and 45+ group with Glen turner and Greg Darke moved off to Bishops in the capable hands of Mark Halgryn. The setting was phenomenal with the mountain as a backdrop. The Astro Turf is world class. It went exceptionally well with the 45+ as they were split into two teams and played against each other. The 35+ group moved across from WPCC and a mixture 35+ and 40+ group played against the 45+ trialists. There was great interaction with the 35+ players running the legs off the 45+ players.
Back at the WPCC the ladies took over the one AstroTurf while the Men 50+ and 55+ used the other one. One bystander commented that the trials were “intense” which just signifies what is stake: “A place at the Masters World Cup”. By all accounts, the day was well run, and the feedback was very positive. A special thanks to Debbi Gates, Elaine Harvey and Charlene Fourie for putting the day together. We would also like to thank WPCC and Bishops Diocesan College for welcoming SA Masters onto their wonderful facilities. SAMHA have come a long way.