Bunbury and Busselton laid out the red carpet, and prepared the green turf, to welcome women’s masters teams from around the country.
Both centres have provided the backdrop to the 2018 National Masters Women’s Hockey Championships.
Around 1500 players, ranging from 35 to 75+, have descended upon both cities for 10 days of thrilling masters hockey excitement.
Hockey Australia women’s masters council member Trish Young was impressed by the level of talent on display.
“It looks very competitive across all of the grades – there’s an expectation that there is a high standard and it’s also very competitive and enjoyable,” she said.
“As a player, it’s all about the competition and the camaraderie that comes with it.
“People to continue to enjoy their sport as they get older and being able compete against your own age group is great.
“We’re able recognise the level of quality across Australia and across the age groups.”
Boyanup Hockey Club star Anita Smith has taken up the captain’s mantle for the WA 45s line-up.
“The local support is really good, hearing everyone on the sidelines gives you that extra bit of enthusiasm,” she said.
“The hockey community gets behind the teams, we’ve had lots of other teams coming down to support us.
“The competition is at a really high standard; just because they’re older ladies doesn’t mean they’re not determined or aggressive.”
Having competed in national masters hockey tournaments since 2006, Australind resident and Boyanup Hockey Club player Marie Hadet said the event showcased the talented athletes living across WA.
“It makes for a great opportunity to play some good hockey, support one another, and catch up with colleagues from interstate,” she said.
“We want to play well and go all the way to getting the gold medal.”
Making the trip to the South West, New South Wales 45s coach Lorrie Ellis said she and the team had been taken aback by the experience.
“It’s a fantastic having us all together over something we really, really like doing,” she said.
“This is a fantastic example for the young people how to stay healthy by getting involved in something active and fun.
“The towns are really great and so are the turfs that are on offer.”
The tournament wraps up on Sunday, October 6.
The best players will be selected to represent Australia on the world stage.
The men’s masters competition will be held in the region from September 29 to October 5, 2019.