Rivals to honour memory of Burling

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Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

The annual Jo Burling Memorial Game will headline the Lower Great Southern Hockey Association’s Cancer Awareness Round this Saturday, as rivals Spencer Park and North Albany do battle in memory of Albany hockey stalwart Jo Burling.

The 18th edition of the special women’s A-grade fixture will be held this Saturday afternoon as the LGSHA raises awareness and funds towards cancer research while recognising numerous past and present players, who have been personally affected by cancer or had family members affected by the disease.

Burling, a former Park player, lost her battle with breast cancer in 2000 at the age of 42 and the two sides have played in her honour ever since. Park holds a slender advantage in the ledger, winning eight of the 17 games contested while Redbacks have held the Jo Burling Memorial Shield on six occasions.

There has been three draws in the memorial, including a 2-2 result last year where Park came from two goals down to ensure a tense final few minutes of the match.

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The two sides will meet for the second time this season after Park were 4-1 winners back in round 4 but Redbacks sit second on the standings, four points ahead of the third placed Park.

The round 10 fixture between Park and Redbacks will start at 1.45pm on Saturday with Park to wear pink playing shirts for the occasion and Redbacks players will sport pink socks.

Young goalkeepers Erin Trotter and Evie Milne will be at opposite ends during the match but said it was an important occasion to raise awareness for cancer. Park goalie Trotter, playing in the memorial for the second time, said her team love playing for the shield.

“It’s a big match for us,” the 16-year-old said. “The girls will definitely lift for the game.”

Milne will make her first appearance in the memorial but was hoping for a Redbacks win. “It is really important to raise awareness about cancer,” the 17-year-old said. “I’m still getting used to playing in goals but hopefully we can get another win.”

As part of the Cancer Awareness Round, B-grade teams Spencer Park 1 and Spencer Park 2 will face off in the Kelly York Memorial Game at 12.15pm honouring the former Park player, who also lost her battle with breast cancer.

Other senior fixtures will also be played on Saturday with Park and Redbacks doing battle in men’s A-grade at 3.15pm followed by Manypeaks taking on Tigers at 4.45pm in men’s A and 6.15pm in women’s A.

The LGSHA will raise funds through donation tins, food and raffles sold across the day, with all proceeds going to cancer research and awareness.

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