When Worthing Hockey Club opened its new clubhouse less than 18 months ago, no one could have predicted the journey that has been 2020 so far. However as we pause for breath in this latest lockdown, it is a good time reflect on how despite the stop/start nature of grass roots sport at present, the club is flourishing at its new Angmering School hockey home.
When the hockey season resumed in September, WHC’s 6 Mens and 2 Ladies teams along with a thriving junior section swung into action. Since then the results have been hugely encouraging.
The Mens 1st XI are currently only 3 points from top spot in the Kent Sussex Regional League 1 with a game in hand. Losing just once in the league so far this season, the team went into the break with a 5-3 victory over table toppers Horsham, leaving the rest of the season with all to play for when hockey resumes.
Similarly the Mens 2nd XI have enjoyed a flying start to the season, also losing just once to sit 2nd in the Sussex League 1 behind Brighton & Hove, the unbeaten leaders.
The Mens 3rd and 4th XI enjoy an intra club rivalry in the Sussex League 2 with the 4th XI remaining undefeated at the top of the league and the 3rd ’s not far behind winning 3 of their league matches so far this season.
Enjoying an early season win, the Mens 5th XI compete in Sussex League 3 with the 6th XI picking up points in Sussex League 4. In addition to the leagues, we still have the cup competitions including the Veterans Over 40s and 50s to look forward to.
For the Ladies 1st XI an unbeaten run of a win against South Saxons, followed by draws against Burgess Hill and Brighton & Hove saw the team move up the Sussex Ladies League Division 1 in October as the team strengthened with the addition of both new and returning club players which gives huge optimism for the good form to continue when the league gets underway again.
Also in the Sussex Ladies League, the Ladies 2nd XI have gained points in Division 3 in a series of closely contested matches before the enforced break in league action. The Ladies teams also have the cup competitions to look forward when the season resumes.
Mens club captain Ian Penny comments : “An excellent start to the season and great to see the mens’ teams in strong positions across the various leagues. The extra coaching including a dedicated first team coach is clearly helping across the club. I am also pleased to welcome many new and returning players to the club this season, who have further strengthened our squads.”
Ladies club captain Michaela Stevens adds : “The ladies 1st & 2nd XI teams are going from strength to strength with the help of increased coaching sessions and a dedicated ladies 1st XI coach. Given the current pandemic, the ladies section spirits remain high and we are looking forward to continued improvement in training and during games once lockdown ends. There has been such an uplift within the section recently and we can only hope to continue this over the coming seasons. Having the new clubhouse pitch side is also increasing club togetherness with more support from other club members at our home matches.”
Looking to the future, both the Boys and Girls Under 16 teams compete on the Sussex Development League West which kicked off in the week before the break. The Wolves, secured a highly impressive win against last years’ Boys Development League winners Brighton, and are currently joint top in the early league standings. With the Girls Development League also in its early stages, the Llamas are looking to build on excellent results in friendly matches and turn this into league points when the league resumes.
The Ladies and Mens teams all have their home matches at Worthing Hockey Club’s Angmering School base, with training on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings respectively. The club is always welcoming new members, so if you are new to hockey, returning to hockey for the social life after a break or looking for a new club for competitive league matches, please come along to a training session – you will be very welcome.
Finally, as we look forward to the new year and the gradual easing of restrictions, the pitch side clubhouse will really come into its own – hosting after match social events, parties, BBQs and team dinners.