Worthing Hockey Club is celebrating 125 years

Founded in 1896, Worthing Hockey Club is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year in the 2021/22 season.

WHC was one of the seven founder members of the Sussex Hockey Association in 1899. The original home was in West Tarring, before putting down roots at the Manor Sports Ground in Broadwater from 1927 until 2019, when the hockey centre at The Angmering School was opened and is now the club’s new base.

As well as looking forward, this landmark year provides an opportunity to look back at the journey so far. The club has had a rich history over its 125 years, and despite 2 breaks for WWI and WWII, most recently breaks for the Coronavirus pandemic, the membership continues to grow with 6 Mens, 2 Ladies and Junior / Development Teams.

Notable dates in the club’s history include the first competitive match in 1897 against Storrington, the start of the Worthing Easter Festival in 1932 which ran for almost 70 years regularly attracting over 50 teams both nationally and internationally as well as on-going success in competitive leagues for both the Mens and Ladies teams.

Former and current players have gained County, Regional and International Honours, whilst the club itself has won honours with both the Mens and Ladies 1st XI’s not forgetting 2nd XI, U21, Veteran and Junior league / cup successes.

Up until 1989, hockey was played almost exclusively on grass, with the club boasting some of the best pitches in the county at the Manor Ground shared with Worthing Cricket Club. The move of the sport to artificial pitches from 1989 changed the makeup of the club, with home matches often being played at Worthing Leisure Centre and then at St. Andrew’s School where upon opening their new artificial pitch in 2005, became WHC’s home match base, just around the corner from The Manor.

Worthing hockey matches at the Manor Sports Ground 1980s

Finally after also using pitches in Durrington and Angmering, the club was able to build its own clubhouse in 2019 at The Angmering School, next to the home astroturf pitch and opening the next chapter of the 125 Year history.

The 2021/22 season will be a 125th anniversary celebration season with a number of events planned including a Gala Dinner on 31st July and a Masters tournament from 27th to 29th August with 12 veterans teams from UK and Ireland being hosted over the August Bank Holiday. More events will be announced as the season unfolds and the story continues.

Coming soon, more on the 125 years of the club, the members, the achievements. Keep an eye on our News page for part II.