Sydney World Masters Games 2009

Published: Thursday, 08 July 2010 Written by Walter (Candyman)

A novelty in reporting this time around, as there will be two scribes. One of the two (Candyman Walter) is starting his running commentary when the first 3 HOPPERS from overseas got into action, which, for acclimatisation purposes, was already on



WEDNESDAY, 7.10.2009  


Sir Stefan, Lady Shoko and myself had already earlier on flown into Sydney on separate flights from beautifully warm Queensland to an unseasonally rainy and rather cool Sydney.
The “early bird Hoppers” were meeting up at The Beresford Hotel with an assembly of assorted Sydney friends, among them Doris and Marcel. Both of them were of immense help to the “Hoppers Cause” by sourcing and delivering a massive 6 liter bottle (“Imperial”) of Shiraz Mitolo, which we needed as a present for Kerry and Sacha at their forthcoming Aussie BBQ.
Marcel was tasked to deliver the bottle to the TRAVELODGE Hotel which was going to be the FLYING HOPPERS headquarters for the duration of the World Masters. This hotel was an excellent choice by Sacha – many thanks!




Once again the 3 early bird Hoppers assembled in the evening. We met up at a venue on George Street, where Sacha apparently gets thrown out on occasions, even if/when  his parents are present - he is just allowed to tell them quickly that he is about to be thrown out...  However, the calming influence provided by Lady Shoko this time around kept Sacha and us together until we decided to depart for Balgowlah, where both Shoko and Stefan kindly prepared a dinner for us all to enjoy. We, Kerry, Sacha, Shoko, Stefan and Walter, used the occasion to engage in a “forward strategy planning session” for the Games to come. Sounds a bit grand? Well, all we basically needed was some liquid intake (of an alcoholic nature) and hey presto, forward planning sorted...

A very pleasant evening was had by the now 5 HOPPERS, with the thrill of excited  anticipation increasing markedly!

And yes, I almost forgot, future Superstar FLYING HOPPER, 2 year old LUKAS Overhoff, got fully trained to pronounce WASABI correctly!  That is, when he could be parted, temporarily, from his beloved hockey stick.




The bulk of the HOPPERS on this tour arrived fairly early on Friday: Bettina & Migi, Irena & Willy, Diana, Lene, Andy, Carlos, Fedor, Walter Stamm, Lorenz, Marion – a full dozen new faces at the Travelodge Hotel. Separately, Pat & Jaap also arrived and replaced Shoko and Stefan at Balgowlah.

The best part of this day was spent on getting accreditation at the Olympic Venue for participation in the Games – a tedious and uninspiring process! Irena was getting a bit upset about the fact that as a non-competitor she would not be allowed in the “March-in Ceremony”, unlike at Melbourne some years back. Telling her that Czech terrorists were black-listed did nothing to mollify her!

In the evening, we all braved the inclement weather (cold and heavy rain) and walked some distance from our hotel to Darling Harbour to find the dinner venue place, i.e. “The Malaya Restaurant” on King Street Wharf. A nice dinner. I especially liked the two curry dishes, lamb and prawns.

For the after dinner drinks we were joined by late-day arrival Coen, who proved to be a fairly easy target to be convinced that one of next year’s Hoppers outings should be to Hong Kong for the SEVENS, followed by an Easter Hockey Tournament at the HKFC. Life is just too easy sometimes.




The remainder of the HOPPERS made it to Sydney :  Pe & Jumbo, Mieko & Roland, Patrick,  Markus (Ruckli), Tony.  Somewhat mysteriously, the long-winded accreditation process had luckily changed to a more speedy / efficient one, albeit without any pictures on the passes.  Thus nobody could sport a nice photo like mine which Willy referred to as “Der Mann mit der Frosch-Maske”.

In the course of the afternoon, these late arrivals did all make it (some sooner some later) to a fantastic AUSSIE  BBQ at the lovely home of Kerry and Sacha in Balgowlah.

The majority took a nice ferry ride to Manly and from there to Balgowlah in taxis. I had the privilege and interesting experience of sharing a taxi with Irena and Willy, with Willy repeatedly saying the taxi should head left, only to be contradicted by Irena who advised the driver to turn right. NO second guesses as to who was right. Just remember Willy’s guided “death march” through Dubai, which we gather did not earn him a lot of fans. Ask Walter Stamm….

The BBQ was a very relaxing event with food and drinks galore. The showing of the VIDEO from last year’s China/Singapore/Malaysia trip (Camera, Script etc. etc. all by Andy – brilliant!) was certainly one of the highlights.

Towards the evening, Captain Tony handed tokens of our deep appreciation to the Overhoff family: A small GC shirt to Lukas and that earlier mentioned Imperial bottle of Shiraz to both Kerry and Sacha.

As our first game was set for the next morning early on, your scribe thought it wise to have an early night. And Shoko decided she had definitely seen enough RAIN in Sydney and headed towards the airport, wishing us all the very best for the upcoming games.



The FLYING HOPPERS were off to an early but successful start in their first encounter against the South African side “MUFASA”.

Willy, having caught some kind of bug in either Dubai or at the BBQ, sadly had to miss the first game due to running a high temperature. But during our strategy session chief tactical expert Sacha had ingeniously written down clever “pairings” on a blackboard,  i.e. which players would exchange with each other. Slightly disconcertingly – thanks to this master plan – the Hoppers started off with only 10 players on the pitch…. This had certainly nothing to do with Rob, a local Australian hockey talent who played great hockey with us in all the games – many THANKS, Rob!

The South African opposition this time around was handled with relative ease, especially also in the second half when the numbered ONE (1) goalie Walter Stamm continued to inspire confidence at the rear.  A comfortable 9 : 0 win resulted, and luckily the rain only started after our game.

Back to the hotel to get dressed-up in our trademark “navy blazer/dark-grey trousers/white shirt/Flying Hoppers tie” outfit for special occasions. And VERY SPECIAL indeed it turned out to be!!  An astonishing number (more than 25’000) of young-at-heart athletes from 94 countries assembled and waited for a fair while before marching sport by sport into the OLYMPIC STADIUM. The weather played its part beautifully as well - not a drop of rain.

The Sydney organisers (9 years after the Olympics) put up a FANTASTIC programme/show for all the participants and viewers – a real party time special which was immensely enjoyed by all of us.

After the first stage party ended, there was a follow-up smaller party at the nearby Novotel venue, where old acquaintances were rekindled and new ones being formed. Coen commented that this had a kind of “biblical connotation” in Australia: After the 7 meager years following the Melbourne World Masters…?!

Personally, I think we had a whale of a time and hence almost missed the last train back into the CBD Sydney.

By now feeling quite hungry and longing for an after midnight snack, a group of us did the proper thing and headed to nearby Chinatown for some food, expertly ordered by Sacha, and later on back to the hotel for some well-deserved rest.





The day started with Stefan and myself visiting the local Lindt office to thank them for sponsoring the chocolate bars which we regularly handed out to the opposing teams. Thereafter, we all moved to another hockey playing venue at Bankstown and played our second game. The very hard running Australian defence guys from different branches of the services (Airforce, Army, Navy) caused considerable anxiety to our defence at the beginning of the game, which was held in a very fair spirit. Gradually, however, the quality of the Flying Hoppers’ game started to shine through and we began to score some nice goals. In the end the result was a very pleasing 8 : 1 victory. We had nice chats with the “Old Warriors” players from all over Australia who had assembled in Sydney for this special occasion.

After the game, Marion showed up with her GOLD MEDAL won in Tennis (6 :1/ 6: 1). She even missed her celebration over at the tennis court to let us all have this fantastic news. Naturally, we were all cheering her and congratulating her most warmly on this great achievement. Very WELL DONE, dear Marion !  Pat also was involved in some heavy tennis action, reaching the play-off for the Bronze Medal, but unfortunately lost that game. Still, reaching a number 4 position is of course also a very impressive result. Well done, dear Pat !

In the evening, we all together proceeded to have dinner at ‘Marigold’, a nice Chinese Restaurant. Heavy discussion topics raised between Tony and Pe (with attentive listening in by Jumbo) centered around “Bettler Schmuck” ?!  An even more spirited discussion between Tony and the whole of our table focused on the origin of some of the Chinese food being served, which Tony believed to be from “bulls testicles”. The discussion was mainly about the health benefits that would/could arise from eating those…. e.g for Ruckli who was going to meet Anu.  But Ruckly was oblivious on account of being immensely absorbed by the task of taking embarrassing  photographs of fellow Hoppers as they were eating and drinking. Especially drinking!

Due to having to play fairly early yet again the next day, we retired at about midnight.






Mark and Judy flew in from Adelaide especially to meet up with the HOPPERS, as Mark was one of the players involved in WINNING the Silver Medal at the Melbourne World Masters. I am convinced that he was very pleased to see that the currently playing Flying Hoppers side is a much stronger version thanks to the additions of Andy, Tony, etc. etc.  Judy and Mark could watch a comfortable win by the Hoppers, and they also joined up again for the evening festivities, where Carlos “scored” a bad injury as a result of some extraordinarily vigorous dance routine - even though he later claimed to have suffered the injury in the hockey game earlier in the day!

Dress code for the gala night showed great Swiss multicultural variety among the Hoppers, which did not please Bettina very much. She would have liked a more unified approach, akin to the one for the Opening Ceremony.

Personally, I escaped being hunted down by the police (for a bounced cheque) by settling the bill at the reception – Aussie flexibility rules!





We had to get up really early once again for another long trip to Bankstown, where a bevy of officials had everything under total control except for the extremely windy weather.  Yet another strong ( 11 : 1 ) victory resulted in our efforts against Manly, with Sacha back in the team whilst Carlos was taking the necessary break. 

As your “first half” scribe was going to leave early the next morning, it might be worth recording that at the time of reporting the overall picture looked as follows:


Flying Hoppers against Musafa    9 : 0
Flying Hoppers against Old Warriors  8 : 1
Flying Hoppers against Ramblers  10 : 0
Flying Hoppers against Manly 11 : 1
Overall     38 : 2

Later on during the day, I ran into Marion in Chinatown and she told me that our two Swiss Tennis cracks had been eliminated in the doubles competition.  Well, one cannot always win Gold!

And before I forget:  Of course, we also wanted ROB to learn some really classy Swiss German and did our best to train him up.  So now we expect him to show up in Switzerland and shout:  “Us-zieh”!

In the evening, I had the privilege to be invited to a wine-tasting party which was of high quality in terms of:

- Quality of the persons involved
- Quality of the wines tasted
- Quantity drunk (2 bottles white, 4 bottles red)

But then, we were 6 participants, after all…

Returning to the Travelodge and deciding to have “one for the road” at the hotel across the road, Stefan, Ruckli and myself ran into Diana.  She informed us very succinctly about the successful participation of the 2 Hoppers hockey ladies with their chosen team, the Revesby Workers.

But later on an even more interesting topic emerged when she suggested that she could swap room keys with Ruckli, as their respective rooms were just opposite each other?! But she sounded a heavy warning at the same time, “For Tony to see me in the room in the morning instead of you, Ruckli, might be a smallish shock. But for Lene to see you, Ruckli, would be total HORROR !!”.

I just wonder if they executed this cunning plan and hope that FEDOR will be reporting on this and a lot of other interesting topics from here forward.

Last but not least, I would like to express my very sincere THANKS to all my fellow FLYING HOPPERS for making this tour a marvellous experience for me. A beautiful city visited together with your good friends, as well as experiencing a lot of success from a sporting point of view - how much better can it get ???

But let’s look forward !  I hope to see at least some of you again at the latest by the time of the HONG KONG SEVENS 2010 …..