Now that we have reached the end of the season – the first thing to say is that “at least we had a full season” this year. Here we reflect on the many positives from the hockey itself to the development of the club over the last 12 months.
We hope you enjoyed the hockey that you played this season and we look forward to seeing you all for the next one !
The Chairman’s Views
On the pitch
Over the year we have fielded 10 teams (6 mens, 2 ladies, 2 development) most weeks and there have only been odd occasions where getting a team out has been a major issue. Thanks go to Ian, Katie, Rex and Matt as well as the individual team captains for making this happen.
Well done to the Ladies 1s and Mens 4s for gaining promotion to the next league and also to the Wolves and Llamas who had strong seasons – showing that our junior hockey is going well and moving us to a preferred choice for younger players.
Looking at our Comets Group this has developed well over the season with 40-50 juniors aged between 6 and 12 attending on Sunday mornings. Regular boys and girls tournaments for both U10s & U12s have proved a great success with Worthing competing strongly and achieving excellent results at these events.
The other Men’s teams have competed strongly and performances especially in the second part of the season have reflected the development of the Club. The Ladies 2s finished near to the top of their league and the second half of the season was particularly successful.
There’s a lot of organisation that goes on behind the scenes so that we can play hockey at the weekends and it’s important to mention this. Matt Sephton has organised a team of umpires to make this happen and each week we need between 7-10 volunteers so that the games can take place. But we need more volunteers to grow this pool as well as a “well organised” volunteer to take over from Matt as co-ordinator.
Our coaching teams on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays have helped to develop our players as well as providing fun and engaging sessions. Most of these have been very well attended and you should make an effort to get to the training sessions if you can, they are key to continued team development. Next year we plan to expand the training further to include 2 hours on a Thursday, so there will be more options available – but we do need more coaches to come forward please and support the development of other players.
One of the most visible developments over the last year has been building of our “semi permanent” marquee which has been available for Club Events and also as an additional social area after matches.
The marquee was originally built to host the 125 Year Anniversary Dinner last year and also act as a base for the Vets Tournament in August. The Anniversary Dinner showed the continued support of current and former members of the Club and was also the first time the Club was able to host an event of this size on its own premises. This has given us confidence to hold further events for Club members and also our annual Dinner Dance which we hosted on 21 May.
The Vets Tournament ran over 3 days (including Friday evening) and was well received by everyone who attended. It attracted over 100 hockey players from all parts of the country and kept everyone entertained and engaged with good food, good wine and good company. This was particularly impressive taking into account that “lockdown” had only just come to an end. In August, we hope to host a similar but larger Tournament with up to 12 teams following the same format.
The Marquee is always available to Club members who want to hold a birthday party or any type of celebration. Let us know if you want to use the venue and we can help get this organised.
ClubMark is a nationally recognised standard provided by England Hockey to confirm that your Club is well run and has all the proper policies in place to make sure members can play hockey safely – and we have achieved this during the current season. Well done to Adrian Smith for getting us there (and slightly ahead of plan). You can see a copy of the certificate in the Clubhouse.
There are only a few Clubs in Sussex that have achieved this accreditation and prospective members (particularly younger members) may be encouraged to join us because we have got to this level.
We have continued to develop and grow our facilities around the Club House – improved outside space and increased use of the Marquee and will continue to do this over the next year. If you have some ideas or suggestions let me know.
Over the last month of the season, we provided Hot Teas and this appeared to be successful and well received. Whilst this was a trial our intention is to continue to do this next season rather than look to each team to deliver this when they are playing at home.
Running the Club
In many ways the efficient running of the Club currently relies on the efforts and contribution of a small group of members to organise and deliver what we need. This has become more challenging as the Club’s activities have expanded significantly since we moved to Angmering.
This means that this type of model is not really sustainable, and we will need to move to a more commercial basis for the delivery of these services. This will also better reflect the true costs of running the Club. The details of this are being discussed as we speak and the ideas / inputs will be shared with club members via the AGM and member communications as the options progress in this area. If you are interested in helping at the Club in any way, please do come forward, as the number of jobs that need doing is ever increasing as the Club grows and moves forward – which is fantastic and really exciting, showing that Worthing Hockey Club is in a great place as we look forward to the next season and beyond.
JH – Chair
Mens and Wolves Boys Section
A season of consolidation, building on home grown players coming through the ranks
The Men’s section ran 6 full teams for the 2021/22 season which was quite an achievement in the circumstances, coming off the back of a curtailed campaign in 2020/21. All of the leagues were completed which was great to see.
The Men’s 1’s consolidated their position in the newly formed South East League structure with a mid-table finish in Division 1 West, featuring National Premier League club 2nd XIs amongst its teams. After a strong start comprising some red hot home form, the season slipped away somewhat with some challenges around availability. The aim is to find a top coach and help push for the top of the table. Similarly, the Men’s 2’s finished in a solid enough position in the Division 1 Martlets League, without ever challenging the top of the league. They were ably led by skipper, Nathan Mays, who returned a 20+ goal season, with a number of younger players gaining valuable experience both within this league and providing support to the Men’s 1’s squad.
In the Division 2 Martlets League, the Men’s 3’s and 4’s came head to head. The 3’s had a slow start to the season, hampered by losing a number of players, promoted to the 2’s. However, they recovered strongly, with a few new signings of their own and were never in any danger, steering well clear of the bottom 4. The 4’s earned promotion to Division 1 after completing the season, winning 15 games out of 22 and returning the least amount of goals conceded in the league thanks to their exceptional goalkeeper Alex Hall. They finished runner up to a strong EG 3’s side.
David Edmondson, WHC Men’s 4s team manager commented “We started strong, had a little wobble after Christmas but then pulled it back and got our promotion, which we are really pleased about. A lot of the games have been very tight, it is a competitive league and we are all really happy and looking forward to next season.”
The Men’s 5’s were unfortunately relegated from Division 3 and will now join the 6’s in Division 4 next season. It was a tough season without a settled side, but the 5’s should prove to be the side to watch next season, gunning to bounce back with promotion. The 6’s played a vital role in bringing new players into Men’s hockey and providing an environment for everyone to be part of the club and play a reasonable standard of competitive hockey. They ultimately found it tough going in Division 4.
On Development side, the Wolves Boys U16 squad had another strong season, finishing in the playoff positions, narrowly missing out in the triangular end of seasons matches which ultimately decided the league. Just as impressively, 2 of the team represented Sussex at U13 and U15 level respectively whilst others also played for the Mens 5s and Mens 6s as they move into senior hockey.
A great season all round, and we’re all looking forward to the next one.
DE – Mens Club Captain (incoming 2022). IP 2021/22
Ladies and Llamas Girls Section
Positive season across the board with more new players and increased availability
We feel very lucky to have been able to complete a full season of games with strong numbers and great results across the ladies section.
Ladies 1s achieved an impressive promotion capitalising on working as a team both on and off the pitch utilising the dedicated coaching from Jez.
The impact of regular, structured coaching has had a very positive effect on this team and is shown in skills and knowledge of the players which reflects in the formation and wins.
Ladies 2s have had a hugely successful season fighting their way up the table each week. This again is a positive result from the weekly coaching and having management pitch-side from John during many of their games. This team has seen a great increase in numbers attending training and avalible for games.
The Llamas have had an incredibly impressive season. Several of the junior girls have this season achieved selection and play for Sussex, showing the development and success of this team.
I am so immensely proud of each and every ladies section member and the determination to continue playing games through a very challenging year.
The teamwork and bond between all the ladies is visible and both sides have grown from strength to strength exponentially.
While part of the season was still restricted due to the ongoing Covid pandemic, all players played their part in supporting the club and teams and this is reflected in the scores and availability each week.
With promotion for the Ladies 1s to Division 1, a top 4th placing for the ladies 2s, the wealth of the youth, enthusiasm and skills generating from the Junior Llamas section, I can say without reservation we will be building on this season’s success and carry this forward into the coming season.
There is an element of excitement and the real prospect of attaining a ladies third XI team, which ensures that there can only be more opportunities and more games and safeguarding a solid ladies section to WHC.
In summary, this has been an incredibly rewarding and motivating season for all ladies, of all ages playing for WHC. Not only were their successes each week at both home and away games resulting in a team promotion but more importantly the number of ladies attending training and making themselves available each week to play is hugely inspiring. There is now real positivity within the section from the growth of the Llamas right through every team.
KN-S – Ladies Club Captain
Comets U12 Junior Section
A season of firsts and enormous progress for the Sunday morning juniors
At last years end of season celebrations, we had 30 U12 juniors – this year we had over 50 ! That marks the fantastic progress that has been made this season with a combination of 3 main activities :
- Player recruitment by advertising in schools and working with Activ 8 for Kids to run 4 days of Holiday Camp hockey to help attract new players
- Regular coaching on Sunday mornings ay Angmering led by Rob Warner and Rex Fuller and supported by a growing number of coaches. Please do join the coaching team if you can, we need more coaches as the number of players continue to grow
- Regular match play against other clubs across Sussex. For the first time we ran U10 matches as well as U12 matches for the boys and girls. These took the form of multi club mini tournaments hosted by clubs across the county, with Worthing competing strongly with a good set of results.
The highlight of the season from a matches point of view was the Ron Easton West tournament, where the girls U12s finished 3rd and the boys U12s finished 1st with an unbeaten set of results. This led to the boys playing in the Ron Easton Sussex Final, eventually finishing as Runners Up in the overall tournament – a great achievement from the team.
Over the course of the season at Angmering we hosted Girls U12 matches on a full pitch, boys and girls U12 mini tournaments on half pitches, an U10 boys mini tournament on half pitches and ended the season with a larger half day mini festival with a total of 8 teams playing multiple matches with nearly 100 players involved across the morning – it was lovely to see and so encouraging to see the next generation of players coming through.
RF – Junior Development Officer, DN U12 Boys Coach
That concludes our review of 2021/22 – what a season it’s been. We look forward to seeing you all for 2022/23 which starts again with pre-season training from August. Thanks to all that make this happen !