Ian ‘Sparra’ Bowden



In 1976 joined Canterbury Hockey Club and played his first game of hockey in 2nd Grade.

“Sparra’s laconic supportive positivity was integral to the transformation of our A Grade performances. When I first came to the Club the then goalkeeper disapproved of my methods and left. Sparra stepped in to become keeper and was a vast improvement! He was a good squash player and his hand eye coordination combined with a touch of madness (apparent in most good keepers!) Made him an excellent acquisition. As a player and committee man he is the soul of Canterbury.” 

(Geoff Collis Life Member)


    • 1876 2 nd Grade
    • 1977 A Reserve
    • 1978 -1983 A Grade. Filled in for Justin McMullen in 1985 Grand final win.
    • 1978 -1982 Indoor Division 1 Premiership first of 5 consecutive Premierships
    • 1982 Pre-Season, CSR, Indoor, SHA and state premiers
    • 1980 State Indoor team and played against Charlesworth and Co.
      Club team to Mount Gambier South Australia competed in Rosebowl
      Carnival against interstate teams. Undefeated in 8 games lost Grand
      final 2-4 to a combined best team opposition
    • 1981 State Indoor team “Sparra was the best Indoor goalie going in that era.” (Eric Perriman Life
    • 1981 A Grade Grand Final team losing on strokes
    • 1982 A Grade SHA and State Premiers
    • 1984 retired from goalkeeping and became an on field defender
    • 1985 A Grade & 2 nd Grade SHA and State Premiers
    • 1986 A Reserve and Second Grade Premiers and State Premiers on the field
    • 1989 Veterans Captain
    • 1990 – 2019 O40, O45, O50, O55, O60, O65 State Veterans
    • Over 1000 games for Canterbury and 100 for the State and 13 Premierships


    • Men’s 1985 – 2019 2 nd , 3 rd , 4 th and Wombats.
    • 1977 7 th Grade Women’s Premiers Mitchell College 6-1
    • 1978 4th Grade Women’s Premiers Derwent 2-1
    • 1979 2nd Grade Men’s Premiers
    • 1980 First Canterbury Women’s A Grade. Lost 1-0 to Grads in Grand Final
    • 1981-2 Women’s Indoor 1 st Division


    • 1977 involved with establishment of The Canterbury Women’s Hockey Club. There was no formal committee with most of the administration done by “Sparra”
    • 1979 Lead discussions on behalf of Canterbury Women’s Hockey with Meridian Hockey Club which lead to an amalgamation and a consolidation of teams throughout the grades.
    • 1978 – 1983 Men’s Secretary.
      • Ian took over from Phil Hughes and put in place the first real committee including people like Bruce Coombe as Treasurer, Beth Coombe, Underage, Steve Soul, and Pauline and Geoff Mann. When Kevin Mitchell retired, and John Lawler was President with Kevin East as Treasurer this was a very progressive time. The Club went from 3 men’s and 1 underage to 6 men’s, 4 underage teams and 7 women’s teams. Sparra organized the hiring of the “Tool Shed” now the changerooms for turf three from the Southern Hockey Association and for many years Canterbury ran a kiosk from the site to raise money for the Club. With others he brought former Australian player Tony Williams into the Club as A Grade Coach. This resulted in players like Geoff Perriman, Colin Pearce, Roger Mattysz coming into the Club and as a result A Grade Premierships were achieved in 1982 and 1985. As Secretary he was also responsible for negotiating deals to get hotels like The New Sydney, Black Buffalo, Stoppies, Red Lion, and Maypole to support the Club. He reflects that it is sad those days are gone.
    • 1980 Presidents Trophy
    • 1983 Social Director
    • 1983 Presidents Trophy
    • 1984 Vice President

Compiled by Jane Patten in discussion with Sparra.