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Busy Maddocks keen for more national hockey duty

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The elation that Maddocks displayed at their recent wins belies the hardships that he faces daily in his quest to turn out for the national hockey side

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Kimberley’s Melrick Maddocks (25) recently returned from a successful outing with the SA Men’s hockey team in their three-Test Olympic qualifier series against Namibia that took place at the Randburg astroturf in Johannesburg. The hosts wiped the floor with their visiting neighbours, whitewashing them 3-0 in the series.

Speaking to the DFA after the series win, Maddocks said that the SA team did exceptionally well in the qualifiers. “The team did well as we won the series 3-0 and kept a clean sheet for every game. A new coach was appointed and he had a different goal (that) we as a team needed to achieve in each game and he was very strict (with the) basics, and keeping the game simple.

“We achieved all goals that were set out for us by the coach, hence it was a successful series for us,” he said.

The elation that Maddocks displayed at their recent wins belies the hardships that he faces daily in his quest to turn out for the national hockey side.

The South African team is not sponsored nor does it pay a stipend to the players even though they are part of the national hockey federation.

Therefore Maddocks mostly finances his own trips which are frequent during the playing season. An average month costs him around R25 000 in flights.

Maddocks mostly does his own fund-raising in the local business community, while a few of his close friends also help him out with his travel bills. In a few instances, hockey players playing abroad also chip in with cash to support his efforts.

Maddocks holds a level 2 coaching certificate which comes in handy when he has to raise funds for trips, as he often raises some funds through coaching teams out in the rural areas, sometimes travelling as far afield as Kathu and Kuruman.

The young coach is quite keen on his association with the rural teams and readily admits that they are much more appreciative of his efforts and skills.

He says that they show a true passion for the game with them eager to break into the limelight.

In-between the national team practices and fixtures Maddocks keeps fit by turning out either as an academy coach for PSI Kimberley Heats, a team formed by fellow Kimberlites former Olympian, Allistair Fredericks, and Reeza Rosenberg.

To stay on top of his game Maddocks occasionally also plays for a local indoor hockey outfit and even makes time to run out for a local school team.

For Maddocks, the recent games against Namibia ended a two-year wait for a call-up, after last having played for the national team in 2017.

Over that period he has been marking time as an alternate national team player plays as a part of the Gauteng A hockey side.