Perth Pythons triumph at inaugural Mardi Gras Hockey Tournament 

Now when one thinks of Sydney Mardi Gras, they usually think of the glamtastic glitterbomb festivities that occupy Oxford Street throughout the weekend. 2017 however, saw the welcome addition of Mardi Gras’ first ever Hockey Tournament, generously organized by the Sydney LGBTQI Hockey Team, the Bentstix.

The tour, which took place over the 2nd and 3rd of March, saw four teams battling it out; with the Royals coming all the way from London, the Bentstix fielding two teams (Bentstix 1 and 2), and 18 hopefuls from Perth’s LQBTI team, the Pythons.

Thursday morning kicked off when the fresh legged Pythons team took on Bentstix 1, and the Perth side quickly gaining a 2-0 lead over the opposition, with goals scored by Dane, and Simon – who founded the club two years ago.

However, the second half saw Bentstix 1 make use of well placed field length passes to evade the Pythons’ defense and make a swift two goal comeback. With the teams level on the scoreboard, the game grew more intense until a seasoned Bentstix 1 side prevailed and secured a victory after scoring a third goal.

That afternoon, the Pythons took on the Royals. Focused by their earlier defeat, the Perth players had the London boys under pressure from the beginning, and quickly began to accumulate scores – with one of the goals being claimed by birthday boy Ian. The Royals, unable to make progress on the scoreboard, strategized to play a highly defensive game, and the match ended 4-0 in favour of the Pythons.

Day 1 ended with everything left to play for as all teams finished on equal points. That evening it was time for the players to put down the hockey sticks and pick up the schooners and canapés as the Oxford Hotel, where the Bentstix had organized a players networking and dinner event. The gathering was complimented with a liberal bar tab that left several of the troop feeling… rather delicate for Friday’s games.

The deciding game was played against Benstix 2 on Friday afternoon, and the Pythons got a fresh burst of energy with the arrival of their de facto cheerleader Kylie, who arrived complete in a rainbow tutu to rally the players with sparklingly audacious outbursts of encouragements.

The Perth contenders played with great furore, and were rewarded when a well positioned Jerome scored the games’ only goal, while on the other end of the pitch the Pythons’ goalie retained the lead with a series of wonderful saves. The game ended 1-0, thus crowing the Perth Pythons as 2017’s Mardi Gras hockey champions!

With the hard work over, the teams headed down to Oxford Street to watch the amazing Mardi Gras Parade, where the dazzling floats showcased the wonderful diversity of the LGBTQI community. The procession included; various sports club strutting their stuff, a troop dedicated to the late George Michael, transgender marchers being loud and proud (as they should be), and a glamorous float of PLHIV.

Conor Duggan

The Pythons are Perth’s diverse hockey team and we encourages anyone who’s interested in joining to head on over to our Facebook page and send us a message! Don’t own a hockey stick? No worries. Never played hockey before? Not a problem. The group is fun and social and welcomes people of all sporting ability. 

Perth’s queer sporting scene is currently undergoing nothing short of a renaissance at the moment, so do check out the Perth White Pointers if you are interested in water polo, or if you’re keen on rock climbing, Qlimb! Is a monthly event run at Urban Ascent.

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