THE men’s Premier League Hockey competition will not feature Bathurst City for the remainder of the year after the club made the difficult decision to withdraw.
City cited a lack of players as the reason for stepping away.
It was not an easy decision for City coach Scott Northey and his team to make.
“Last Monday we had a get together and decided that we weren’t able to get the numbers every week. We had 11 players for the weekend’s game but just again we didn’t have the reserves we needed,” Northey said.
“All the boys are feeling devastated, including myself. We’re just going to consolidate for the rest of this year and then look at what our numbers are like in the off-season.
“We really need to get together a squad of at least 18 players so it’s not putting a lot of pressure on our core group of guys.”
Northey and his team are determined to be back among the Central West’s top tier hockey competition as soon as next year.
“We’ll get the boys together at the end of the year and see how we’re feeling,” he said.
“It was either we step back for the year or keep playing and get disheartened. It’s tough because the core group of guys were so keen for this year.
“One of our guys got into a car accident while on their bike and another player had a change in their shift and wouldn’t be back until round 10.”
Some of the City men will drop back to play in the Bathurst Hockey Association first grade competition while Northey confirmed others may switch to other clubs in order to remain among the Premier League Hockey fray.
“I know that Pat’s were interested in picking up a few of our guys until the end of the year, but I said that they’ll have to talk to the players about that because I don’t make that decision for them,” he said.
“It would be really good for them if they were able to stay in the Premier League competition because that keeps them playing at a higher level … and helps their hockey.”
Kyle Reardon is one player who has already confirmed a switch. Reardon will play the remainder of this season for Parkes United.
Bathurst City – which combines the strength of the Kelso and Waratahs clubs – joined the men’s competition for the start of the 2015 season.
The team was initially a mixture of youth and veterans, but this year a much younger squad was put forward.
City claimed a solitary win during their challenging two-year stint in the competition, a 3-2 success over Dubbo in 2016.
The player troubles for City were evident in their opening match this season where they went down 11-0 to Lithgow Panthers while having a single substitute.