Staggered approach vital to get popular sport going again
IT will be Ipswich hockey like it has never been organised and played before.
As long-serving official Margret Mantell aptly described: “The whole premise is that you get in and get out’’.
But while major planning is needed to allow one of the city’s most popular sports to continue, the purpose is commendable.
At least the Ipswich Hockey Association management committee is pressing ahead with plans to offer at least nine weeks of fixtures from July 17.
Training would be allowed to resume from Monday night, July 13, with strict procedures in place.
With numbers currently restricted to 100 in the Ipswich Hockey Complex, Mantell said it was likely match times would be staggered between the two main fields.
The finals format will depend on further state government decisions in coming weeks.
“We haven’t really decided whether we are going with finals as such or first past the post,’’ the Ipswich Hockey Association secretary said.
“It might be we just play 1 v 2, rather than three weeks of finals.
“If you’ve only got nine weeks and you take three weeks out to play a finals series, most teams would only get six weeks of games.
“We’re trying to maximise the number of games that every team can play.’’
Earlier suggestions that midweek matches or doubleheaders could be played to increase opportunities have been declined.
“We did a survey, nearly 700 people responded, but 30 per cent couldn’t play week nights,’’ Mantell said.
Hockey comes under the government’s field sports procedures.
Under current plans, at least 15 minutes will be allowed between every game for extra sanitising of key areas and touch points.
A designated area will be established for teams to assemble.
Teams will be able to come in ready to play before leaving the complex to allow the next group of players to enjoy their match.
“You walk in the gate with your mouthguard in, your shin pads on, the stick in your hand,’’ she said.
Mantell said special sign-in arrangements to collect contact information would also be in place under the COVID-19 guidelines required.
Other considerations are how to keep safe distances in the carpark, staggered warm-ups and the possibility of one-way access to a canteen without using the tables.
Spectator zones will be reviewed as future restrictions are eased.
Mantell said Hockey Queensland and Hockey Australia had been very helpful in organising the necessary plans to get competition going again.