Nelson Bay masters bring home 2019 Hockey NSW Women's Masters State Championship title

In the past three years Nelson Bay Hockey Club has gone from struggling to find enough masters-aged women to field a state representative team to winning its division at the NSW championship.

The remarkable turn around coincides with the increase in senior-aged players signing up to play hockey with the Salamander Bay-based hockey club, encouraged by a club culture that promotes skills, friendship and fun.

"Three years ago we were really pushing it to get the numbers we needed for a team. We just didn't have enough women willing to join the state team," Nelson Bay Hockey Club and state team player Roxanne Gwyn-Kabayama said. "This year we were able to travel away with three reserves.

"We have such a great time at the masters championships every year. Everyone is so supportive, the games are friendly. It really is a great time. I think this has helped encourage more women to play."

Nelson Bay Hockey Club's over 40s team were co-winners of their 2019 Hockey NSW Women's Masters State Championship division premiership.

Nelson Bay Hockey Club's over 40s team were co-winners of their 2019 Hockey NSW Women's Masters State Championship division premiership.

The Nelson Bay Hockey Club masters team represented Hunter Hockey Association in the division three over 40s age group at the 2019 Hockey NSW Women's Masters State Championship held in Bathurst between July 25-28.

The Bay has entered a women's team in the half masters championship for the past three years. This year's was a full championship, seeing 2000 players in 110 teams play for state premierships.

The Bay team was made up with 14 players aged between 40 and 59 and two support staff (coach and manager).

In the regular season, most of the women that form the team play against each other in the winter competition.

Across four days the Bay team played six state championship games to make it to the final. The Nelson Bay-Hunter team faced Cowra, representing Bathurst, in the final. The game ended 1-1, resulting in Nelson Bay and Cowra both being crowned division premiers.

"We never expected to win. It didn't enter our minds, which made it more amazing when we did," Gwyn-Kabayama said. "It was such a great game, too."

She added that it was nice to see the hard work the master's team had put in to developing their skills, such as attending development camps, in the past 12 months paying off.

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