DAVE Watson leans back at the dining table of his March Street home in deep thought.
His next breath produces one word.
Like most things about this unassuming 45-year-old veteran hockey player, the word exceptional is probably an understatement.
Watson has just completed one of the more remarkable Australian Masters Hockey Championships, helping NSW over 45 second division side to an undefeated tournament that culminated in a commanding 6-1 grand final victory.
Scoring 15 goals throughout eight games - he scored three in the final - Watson also won the best and fairest award for the tournament, the NSW players’ player award and man of the match honours during last week’s masters championships.
About the only accolade eluding the Orange hockey player is national selection.
He missed out on that gong because players in the second and third divisions aren’t eligible.
“I think overall I’ve had a pretty exceptional year,” he said.
“I won the Orange Sportsman of the Year award, which I was very flattered about that. There were a couple of guys I thought achieved more. I was co-winner of the Wanderers Sportsman of the Year ... definitely at the masters this year, I’m humbled.
“I don’t play for accolades. I play for the competition, the camaraderie, the friendship. It’s always good to be recognised.”
NSW won the championship based largely on a ruthless attacking game.
They defeated Queensland (3) in the first game 15-1 then went about completing similar routs on NSW (3) 2-0, ACT 6-1, Queensland (2) 4-2, ACT 5-1 and NSW (3) 2-0.
In the semi-final, NSW defeated the ACT 2-1.
The Blues then won the final comprehensively over Queensland (2) 6-1.
“The first year I went away to Darwin I finished up with the team’s players’ player, but I didn’t get a player of the match from the other side. That was still pretty memorable. We won a medal first year,” Watson recalls.
“This year, I’m probably a little flattered to achieve so much.”
Watson put down his strong form in front of goal to the efforts of his midfield, with “good supply” the reason behind the Orange veteran netting nearly a third of his side’s goals.
He said the competitive nature of the sport brought out the best in the team.
“I think everyone has that competitive nature, it doesn’t matter what you do,” he said.
“I still love the game.”
Orange had several players at the masters championship, with Michael Bird (NSW over 45/3s), Darrell Frost (NSW over 40/3s), Darryn Marjoram (NSW over 45/1s), Wayne Newton (ACT over 50/2s), Jamie Watson (NSW 45/2s) and Damien Chown (NSW over 45/2s) also enjoying the masters competition.