Beach hockey: Groundswell of teams for seaside tourney

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Event organiser and competitor Kate Savory with the ball at last year's NZ Beach Hockey Championships on Mount Main Beach.
Event organiser and competitor Kate Savory with the ball at last year's NZ Beach Hockey Championships on Mount Main Beach.

The fourth annual NZ Beach Hockey Championships will once again hit the sand at Mount Maunganui's Main Beach on Saturday, January 16.

After a revamped one-day event that was hugely successful in 2015, the format returns this year with an increase in team numbers. Nearly all of the 16 spots in the competition have been filled well in advance, signalling a strong interest in hockey's version of T/20 cricket.

"The interest we have had already suggests the event could be our best yet," organiser Kate Savory said. "We've got teams from New Plymouth, Hamilton, and Auckland, as well as a number of local teams."

Teams will compete for the coveted Giant Jandal, with local hockey icon Lincoln Churchill in search of his third straight title after back-to-back victories the previous two years.

The competition is mixed and played five-a-side inside an inflatable surround.

Specially-made beach hockey sticks are used and the ball is similar to a mini soccer ball, enabling plenty of aerial skills to be displayed.

The event will run all day with the finals to be played between 6pm and 7pm. There will be spot prizes throughout the day, and Hellers have kindly donated a range of food to keep the players happy between matches.

-Information: NZ Beach Hockey on Facebook.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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