first_imgFor the Mens and Womens 40’s Division Northern Eagles, the 2004 NTL’s has so far been a successful tournament. Both teams remain serious competition contenders after the end of the round games today. The Womens 40s are definitely not strangers to victory. The side, which has consisted of the same core players for over 10 years, won the Inaugural Over 40’s division at the 2003 NTL’s after winning the Womens 35’s division in 2000. This year they won’t be letting threatening teams such as Sydney Scorpions or the Hunter Hornets stand in their way. “We have the talent to win, if we get it together at the right time,” says ex-Australian representative and Coffs Harbour local, Cate Simms. “At this level and age, it’s really who stays the fittest, wins.” They deny a home side advantage over the rest of the teams. “City sides train more often and play at a high standard more often than we get to”, says Cate. But the accolades are not why these women play the game. “There’s such close friendships in the seniors, there’s no egos here, we all just enjoy each others company, and like staying fit”, says Therese Spear, who also represented Australia, along with three other of their team mates. The Mens 40’s are also enjoying similar success at this year’s tournament, having lost only one game, despite having only trained together for the past three months. The only competition they had played together before coming to the 2004 NTL saw them win just one game….in the 35’s division though! Even though Sydney Scorpions are also their main threat, “realistically we’re looking at getting into the final,” says Australian World Cup representative, Steve Hancock. They are enjoying their time in Coffs Harbour and are quick to praise the tournament. “It’s great, the fields are always in great condition, good location as it’s only two hours from home, and the NTL’s is always a hard, quality tournament, where you get to play teams that you wouldn’t normally play”, says Steve. And, just like the women, they play for the friendships. “There’s a great social aspect of the tournament after the games, its great to catch up with players from years before.” says Steve. But unlike the women they believe that they do reap benefits of being the home side. “We only have to travel two hours, and travel usually makes it tough, we also get a good turnout of players and spectators because we’re closer, our costs are lower. Both teams agree that they love having NTL’s in Coffs Harbour as “it is an incredible facility and perfect for the game of touch, and it also generates a huge amount of money into the area”, says Cate. “Touch is an incredible sport to watch, not just at the Opens level, it’s a game for families and people of all ages to enjoy”. By Lisa Plummer pictures by www.sportingimages.com.aulast_img

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