HOLDING HOPE: Wests A-Grade captain Eden Jackat shares her views on how a revised Ipswich hockey season might look. Picture: Rob Williams
HOLDING HOPE: Wests A-Grade captain Eden Jackat shares her views on how a revised Ipswich hockey season might look. Picture: Rob Williams

Winning captain’s option to restart Ipswich season

FOUR-time A-Grade premiership winner Eden Jackat knows the Wests young brigade will have to step up if and when the Ipswich hockey season resumes.

She hopes that is in June or July at the latest, buoyed by recent improvements.

"It was just so unknown,'' Jackat said. "We had no idea if we were going to be able to play half a season, a couple of games, or if we are not going to have a season at all.

"But I think it's looking a bit more optimistic for the next couple of weeks. Fingers crossed.

"It was a bit of a tease having one game but looking forward to get back into it.''

Even an early July start would give the players a chance to resume training in June.

"I was thinking about this and there is the option that Ipswich Hockey would prolong the season a month or two,'' Jackat said.

"That will give us eight more weeks.

"In A Grade anyway, we usually miss a fair few weeks in the season due to different competitions that are on or holidays.

"So if they just compacted the season and had no weeks off, and maybe prolonged it a little bit at the end, we would still get I'd say maybe a five month season.''

Having no annual Combined Competition round with Toowoomba would also help regain some weekends available for Ipswich fixtures.

"Now that we have a six team (women's) competition, I think you can really make the most of a shorter season without having any weeks off,'' Jackat said.

"So I'm not too concerned.

"I think we'll still get a fairly good season whenever it does begin.''

The effervescent Wests skipper is keen to get back on the Ipswich Hockey Association turf after the sole match was completed before the coronavirus shutdown.

The defending premiers were held to a 4-4 draw by A-Grade newcomers Thistles.

Jackat backed her team to respond after losing vastly experienced duo Amy Kickbusch and Amy Nicholls, along with rising talents Jordn Office and Talicia Canty.

 

Wests captain Eden Jackat controls the ball in an A-Grade match against Hancock Brothers at the Ipswich Hockey Complex. Photo: Carl Groenewald
Wests captain Eden Jackat controls the ball in an A-Grade match against Hancock Brothers at the Ipswich Hockey Complex. Photo: Carl Groenewald

 

"From our perpective we're running with a bit of a different team and a few younger players,'' Jackat said, having shared in Wests' past four grand final triumphs.

"It (playing Thistles) was a really good game for the young girls to realise the pace of A- Grade.

"Thistles, being fresh coming back in the competition, they did really good. They had a strong team across the board so they're going to be very competitive this year.''

Jackat, 23, co-captained the Magpies with either Nicholls or Kickbusch in recent A-Grade seasons.

"The two Amys are incredible hockey players,'' Jackat said. "They not only brought a lot of skill to the team but a lot of experience and knowledge.

"But having played with them for all the years, a lot of the girls have learnt a lot off them and a lot of the younger girls are now the more experienced players.''

Jackat said the Magpies were missing each other and playing together during the coronavirus shutdown.

"We have definitely been keeping in contact and as soon as we get a date to start again, we'll be ready to go again . . . pre-season number two,'' she said.

The speedy midfield/striker has been keeping fit through some streaming programs, running and weights at home.

Looking towards returning, aspiring paramedic Jackat said her side wasn't going to take any chances in March when the virus issue became so serious.

"We had the one game and we were due to play the second round and our team were almost going to have to forfeit,'' she said. "We just didn't want to risk it.

"If one of us got it, we would have put our families at risk and if someone in Ipswich Hockey got it, it would have really jeopardised the rest of the season.

"We were all for having the time off, even it it was a couple of weeks and see how it goes.''

Ipswich Hockey Association officials also adopted the safety first approach, deciding to postpone the competition after considering ways to keep playing.