Warrnambool hockey players haven't been involved in a match for months but they'll finally break that drought this weekend.
Warrnambool District Hockey Association is putting on a fun-filled two-day event as part of the South West Games - a week designed to promote participation in sport and recreation.
There's social hockey sixers on Saturday from 8.30am which is a short-form game gaining popularity in Australia.
It's six-a-side for all ages and played in a quarter of the field with three 13-minute periods.
"It's just about getting people who haven't played or people who are returning to play, just to blow out the cobwebs and have a hit," WDHA secretary Mark Bridge said.
The secretary said hockey sixers was a format Hockey Victoria was promoting to try and introduce newcomers to the sport.
"Our hope and plan is that we'll use a social hockey sixers competition as our summer midweek comp," he said.
Bridge said the association was keen to get a social corporate cup up-and-running.
The sixers games will be followed by senior mixed and 16 and under mixed round-robin competitions running from Saturday morning through to Sunday afternoon.
There'll be about 120 players involved and teams from as far as Portland, Ballarat and Glenelg.
"So the idea is just to get out and start playing again. We've all had our seasons cancelled during the year," Bridge said.
"I think we only managed to get in five or six games within our local comp for the year so it's an opportunity just to play a bucket load of games in a day."
There are so many players coming to town that WDHA will draw on its grass field to accommodate all the matches. There is only one artificial field.
"We're making the most of it and getting back out onto the grass for the first time in 15 years," Bridge said.
"I believe it's been that long since the last game played on grass, competition-wise. So we've been marking the lines with spray cans."
Bridge said the grass field was well-maintained because various groups such as football umpires and soccer teams used it.
While some youngsters will have to adjust to playing on grass for the first time, some veteran hockey players are keen to play on the natural surface.
"There's a few people that are looking forward to getting back onto it, some of the older players," Bridge said.
"I think teams entered from Portland and Corangamite - they still play on grass so they're over the moon and see this is an opportunity to move up the ladder."
Meanwhile, WDHA had its annual general meeting recently with Paul Dillon appointed the new president.
"Sharyn (Stevenson) was in the role for five years and did a fantastic job and steered us well through COVID," Bridge said.
He said Dillon used to play when Deakin University had a team.
"He brings some new skills that we we didn't have previously to the executive," Bridge said.
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