The Waves Cities Hockey Club History - A Story Told...

The Waves Cities Hockey Club History
Cities Hockey to The Waves Cities Hockey - A Story Told

The Cities Men’s Club was formed in 1935, following the withdrawal of North’s and Blue Jays from competition at the end of 1934. The transfer of players from those two clubs, plus recruitment of players from Mariners, Sailors and Burnetts, and some new players to the district enabled the Cities team to participate in the competition that year.

Cities were formed under the leadership of Alf Hodgkinson in 1935, affiliating with the Bundaberg Hockey Association. The inaugural team consisted of Alf Hodgkinson, J. Callaghan, A. Fagg, V. Fagg, G. Reynolds, C. Stibe, C. Puir, A. Rayner, R. Auer, F. Vickers, A. Brown, N. Steffensen, H. Barker, L. Roberts, N. Scotton, R. Emerick, C. Harvey and T. Harvey.

Cities won their first premiership outright in 1936 on 22 points. Cities scored 48 goals and conceded 13 goals for the season. In 1941 Alf Hodgkinson, Jack Callaghan and five other members transferred across to assist in the establishment of the new Catholic Club. However, following the war, many of these players returned to Cities.

In 1941 Cities Hockey Club did not form due to many players enlisting in the services. Hockey was in recess from 1942 to 1945 due to World War II. Their first premiership after the war came in 1947 under the captaincy of Bert Dent. This same year, a Cities Women’s Club was formed with Norma Lanstrom as Captain. Other members of the team were S. O’Brien, M. Bock, C. Bock, B. Cocking, M. Kennedy, J. Black, V. Kennedy, M. Pahl, M. Pegg, G. Millae, J. Heidke, D. McLaughlan and M. Rodgers. Cities Women won the march past in 1948 and withdrew from the competition in 1949.

Bert Dent moved from the district in 1949 and he was succeeded as captain by Merv Baker who led the Club to premiership honours once again in 1950. Merv’s father, Morrie, was a long serving Patron of Cities Hockey Club and the Railway Hotel was the venue of the Cities Hockey Club Meetings. Cities Hockey Club had a very close association with the North School and many of the young players produced by this school joined the Cities ranks as they moved into the senior grades. The club adopted the North’s Club on their formation in 1947 from the school boy competition. Prominent among who were Ivan Barton, Harry Hartfiel, Ross Dynes, Ron Dawson, Brian Taylor and John Heiner. Mr Cec Hough, a prominent school teacher at North, became the Club President in 1952 and the Club has enjoyed a tremendous nursery of players from this school over the years.

Bundaberg Hockey Association re-introduced school boy’s hockey on a Saturday morning in the late 1950’s and Cities once again were very prominent in sponsoring and coaching teams from North School and the Christian Brothers. Both these schools have contributed greatly in the continued growth of Cities. In 1953 Cities nominated two school girls teams in addition to the 2 mens teams and a junior boys team.

The Club members maintained a close rapport and many social cricket matches were played in the off season against Burnett Heads, Tegege and Bullyard. Also Club members were very active in the early days of American Basketball forming the Devils, Dodger and Dazzler teams and enjoying considerable premiership success. Dazzlers Soccer Team (all Cities Club members) participated in the Soccer Association Fixtures with Harold Scott as coach. This was short lived however as the Hockey Association reverted from Sunday to Saturday fixtures.

In the 1960’s the emergence of the Callaghan Brothers, Kevin and Keith, Ron Derrick, Bevan Vowles, Ritchie Rosolen together with established members Gerry McHugh, Col Read, Harry Hartfiel and Jim Quaite saw the club gain great strength and respect throughout the district. 1961 was the beginning of the Golden Era for the club as they were successful for sixteen continuous years before All Blacks broke their run in 1976. Success in the prestigious Core Cup in 1969 capped off a great year, winning the premiership and providing nine of the Bundaberg Representative players to defeat Brisbane in the State Championships. Kev Callaghan made the first of his many State Representative trips, whilst Jim Quaite was selected vice captain of the South
Queensland Team to tour New South Wales. Several Cities players gained selection in 1970 in South Queensland Touring Team; Keith Callaghan, Bevan Vowles and Michael Edgar.

In the 1970’s a need for training fields was apparent and the Council granting the use of the ground on the north side riverbank saw the development of Cities Training Field – the first club to achieve this status. Donations and much voluntary assistance enabled lighting and improvements to be made.

In 1971 the Club successfully staged its first preseason carnival. The carnival was a success, both financially and in the number of teams it attracted. Teams from Rockhampton in the north to the Gold Coast in the south participated. Cities still run their preseason carnival. A further effort to foster hockey was initiated by both Rovers and Cities Hockey Clubs when they took teams to the Gin Gin Showgrounds to play exhibition matches in 1972, a Club Presidents Eleven playing Club Captains Team.

Hockey got off the ground in Gin Gin the next year and some financial and playing assistance from Cities and Rovers Clubs helped the formation of the now well established Gin Gin teams. Cities old boy, Viv Chase making a prominent contribution to the game in these years.

1983 saw the inclusion of our Cities Women, which has provided growth and energy within the club. Cities Hockey's women are now seeing the fruits of many years labour with a mix of youthful players emerging from our junior ranks and older players providing the experience to make our senior teams a force to reckon with.

In 1985 Cities Hockey Club celebrated its Golden Jubilee (50 years). Cities affiliated teams in all senior divisions of the Bundaberg Hockey Association competition and were also prominent in fielding both junior boys and girls teams. The introduction of Minkey Hockey for the very young players saw teams emerge in these divisions.

In June 1986 the club farewelled one of its Life Members, Col Read. Col’s time with Cities can be divided into three main areas. As a player, he represented Bundaberg in the 1950′ and 1960’s and was selected for Queensland Colts and Queensland Country. He served as our Club Secretary for 11 years. Col’s greatest contribution to the club was undoubtedly his work with the junior players. Our first ever edition of the Blues News was produced in 1986. All players, parents and coaches look back on them now with fond memories of the Club members we have had over the years.

In the 1980’s Cities attended many social hockey carnivals which included the Core Cup, Meteors and Hornets in Rockhampton (again winning the Core Cup). Premier League competition started in 1995, where Men’s and Women’s teams from Bundaberg, Maryborough, Gympie and now Hervey Bay compete to be the best club side in Wide Bay. Our Division 1 Men have taken this honour out 5 times; 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000.

The club's Division 1 Women have been successful at winning the Premier League and local competition 3 years in a row; 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2000 Jacky Burtt was elected as our first female President. In 2003 Cities ran an Active Juniors Program, which was fully funded by Queensland Sport and Recreation and was very successful. Many of our players and coaches gave up their time to conduct training sessions in a number of primary schools over a four week period. The committee behind it was David Miller, Jacquie Haskew, Vince Mallett, Robbie Quaite and John Walters.

One of the highlights of the Active Juniors Program was the appearance of Hockeyroo ambassador, Wendy Alcorn. Wendy’s appearance gained great media exposure for the club and the game of Hockey and she was warmly received by the students at all the schools. The Youngies V Oldies social game was a tradition for many years where club members from Over and Under 30 years old play off for the George Schaffer Memorial trophy. This game is usually played at the club's Junior Break Up Day, providing the juniors with the chance to see some of our past and present players in action. Due to Junior Break Up Day not being held at the hockey grounds for the last few years, the game has not been played.

There have been many players that have come from our junior ranks which still play and now coach the juniors. This dedication to the juniors together with a high level of coaching knowledge has seen the club produce many Bundaberg and Queensland Representatives. The 2009 season saw some radical changes, one being the Bundaberg Hockey Associations’s decision to change the junior competition from junior age divisions to an ability based competition. Cities' Division 1 Men’s team was greatly revived, gaining them a spot in both the Premier League and local competition Grand Finals.

Premier League Grand Final saw them come up against reigning champs, Granville Rovers. Cities' men certainly put up a fight right until the last second of the game. Although they did not win, they definitely had Granville worried throughout the game and all spectators on the edge of their seat. 2009 was an unforgettable season for the club, with all four senior teams (Division 1 and 2 Men and Division 1 and 2 Women) being crowned Grand Final Winners (though our Division 1 Women had everyone biting their nails; 1 all draw after 70 minutes followed by 6 minutes extra time with 9 players - still a draw, followed by another 6 minutes extra time with 7 players and you guess right, dear reader - a draw yet again. So the winner was determined by a penalty stroke shoot out with Cities locking away 4 of their strokes and Arrows only successful with 3 (Way too much stress on everyone!).

2009 also saw the introduction of the Clubs Junior Come & Try, skills training sessions. The sessions were held on two Sunday’s throughout the season and were a great success with the support of our senior players. The juniors learned some valuable skills, received more personal training and were able to socialise and have fun. This concept also drew in many new players who could try the game with no up front commitment. A highlight in 2009 was the selection of Josh Stacey and Joel Latham in the Australian Schoolboys team to play in Hong Kong in 2010. Both young men have played together at a very young age and have come through the Cities ranks to be integral players in the Division 1 Team. At the end of 2009, a family that has been extremely valuable to Cities Hockey Club over many years, decided it was time for a sea change. The Miller Family (David, Michelle, Nathan and Cody) have relocated to Brisbane to allow David to further his Career. Cities Hockey Club wishes them all the best on their new journey!

The strength of the club over the past 75 years is highly visible. Cities success has been based on a strong sense of tradition, passion and club pride. The aim is for our players to gain enjoyment from hockey and to improve personal skills. This strong team (and club) camaraderie between players on and off the field has transformed into success. Based on these principles, Cities will continue to be a major competitor on the local hockey scene for many years to come. The fostering of juniors and the passing down of traditional club values by our stalwarts is vital for the continued success of what is today, The Waves Cities Hockey Club.

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