Inline hockey stars aim for record

James West
James West
30 Battery 16 Regiment Royal Artillery lead the annual St Georges Day parade through Emsworth town centre. Picture Ian Hargreaves (180463-23)

IN PICTURES: St George’s Day parade in Emsworth

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INLINE hockey players are gearing up for their biggest match ever – a whopping 30 hours long.

Two teams of 16 are hoping to beat the world record for the longest match ever played, beating the current 25 hours and 20 minutes.

The event is being held at Solent Arena, on Standard Way, in Fareham, which was set up by a not-for-profit organisation and is one of only five rinks in the UK.

The arena has been gradually built since delivery of the rink at the start of the month and the 32 record-attempt players have raised £9,100 towards finishing it off.

Setti Mulari, chairman of Salmiakki Sports, the organisation behind the arena, said: ‘The record-breaking game will be played according to FIRS (Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports) rules.

‘Normally you’d see players come on for a minute or so at a time before substituting, in the world record attempt players earn convenience break time by being on the floor actively playing,’ said Mr Mulari.

The players will participate for an hour at a time, with five players from each team on the rink at any one time.

Many teams have been making the most of the rink including Salisbury Stars, some of whom will be at the arena to watch the record attempt.

Player James West, 35, said: ‘It is brilliant. I have been playing for over 20 years in this region and we have never had a facility like this. For them to raise money to finish it off is fantastic.’

People are coming from all over England for the game including Chris Neve from the Peterborough Phoenix Ice Hockey Club and Matthew Batterbee and Jake Porter from Rhyl Renegades, Wales. The oldest player is Kevin McWhirr, 50, of Fareham Wildcats.

Kevin said: ‘It is an amazing opportunity to do something I love and we are raising money for something we are very lucky to have in Fareham. The arena is brilliant, once it is all done, it will be an amazing arena. If people can come along, even just for a little bit, they will see how great the arena is.’

The game starts at 10am on Saturday.