Celebrations at the End of Season Dinner!

Saturday, 20th May saw the 2022-2023 End of Season Dinner for the adult section of the club. We welcomed 140 guests to the OC Club with bubbles and an opening speech from our Club Captain, Helen Hawes, on a wonderfully sunny evening. Before departing the TD Fortress (aka the Astro) the first award was made to Umpire of the Year, Phil Pitt. His dedication to umpiring 35 league games and developing other umpires over the season was rightly recognised. Additionally, all of our team of umpires were thanked and appreciated given the high standards they work to.

39 awards were presented in total which followed over 264 league games played throughout 2022-2023. The season also included an amazing 4 league titles (Men’s 3s, Men’s 4s, Warriors, Stormers); 6 promotions, 775 league goals scored and many EH cup runs, of which the Men’s Over 40s made the semi-final. With so much to celebrate it must be noted none of it would be possible without the dedication of so many people… players, coaches, captains, umpires, many volunteers and our Executive Committee. Thanks were given to all those involved.

Molly Hanson took control of the evening as ‘Master of Ceremonies’ and Josh Doble made sure we all kept to time with his bell! Managing that number of players is never easy when the drinks kept flowing and the pre-ordered wine was far too easy to reach. The much-anticipated personalised Golden Stick award, kindly sponsored by ROOS Hockey, for the club’s top goal scorers went to Men’s 4s player Jake Kemp (22 goals) and Ladies 1s Captain Laura Sealey (13 goals). Congratulation to all our winners team and the full list can be viewed here.

The main club awards came next before the dancing commenced. Ladies and Men’s Club Captain’s Awards went to two people who have contributed a huge amount to the club.

Paula Dormer, Ladies 4s Captain was awarded the Ladies Club Captain Award from Sarah Mann. Paula and her family have been part of the club for several years, always involved but this year her commitment and dedication has gone above and beyond. She has been incredible, helping in all areas and taking on some challenging roles. A true club person always looking at the bigger picture in respect of the club’s needs rather than just that of her teams’. Paula is loved and respected by all and I can’t thank her enough.  She thoroughly deserves this recognition.

Ollie Davies received the Men’s Club Captain Award for his services this season and throughout his time at OC’s as M1’s Captain and player. OD came to the club over 8 years ago joining the Club where he went to school bringing in a number of players to help strengthen the club in our push to compete in the National League. He has Captained the side to their current position in National Division 1 South League through promotions at Southern Premier and National Conference West League. His performances both on and off the pitch have been superb and he has been a fantastic role model for the Juniors coming through the club at all levels. Putting his body on the line (quite literally) over the years has been amazing to watch, as he moves onto his next chapter, both in life, having got engaged very recently (congratulations!!) and taking a back seat playing role at OC’s. We hope he continues his time at OC’s whichever team it may be in and continues to enjoy his hockey, as well as married life (but not too much that he can’t play hockey…!!). However for his all-round contribution over the years to OC Hockey at M1’s level, he will be sorely missed as a Captain and a player of the M1’s.

Christian Davies Award for Significant Contribution to the club went to Laura Sealey, Ladies 1s Captain who led the Ladies 1s from the front this season as they achieved their second promotion on the bounce. Not only was she top goal scorer but managed the team on the pitch admirably. Laura joined OCHC as a Back 2 Hockey player and spent a year getting her confidence back and receiving many comments from opposition teams that she ‘can’t be a Back 2 Hockey player’. One season was all the Ladies 1s allowed her before they grabbed her to play upfront in their squad and it has certainly paid dividends. An outstandingly strong centre forward and hugely committed to the squad. Not someone you would want to play against, but her knowledge of the game has supported the team’s development.

The Roger Loveland Award for Long Term Service to the Club was awarded to Gavin Adair. In 2011 Gavin attended a Hockey Club Committee saying he wanted to make a difference and that involved starting a Junior section. Come September 2012, the Junior section started with 50 children across all age groups and a vision to make hockey inclusive for all. Gavin took on the role of Chairman and for 10 years took charge of the committee, inspired growth and handled many teething issues along the way. The club now has over 600 juniors from age 6-18 and have seen a significant number of Juniors transition into adult hockey. The club is indebted to Gavin’s aspiration on that fateful day and we’ve seen the club grow from 80 to 800+ members.

Team of The Year Award was presented by Director of Hockey, David Mathews. It went to the Men’s Warriors, a lads and dads team managed by Adrian White with the aim of developing juniors, aided by adults guiding them during the game. The team won promotion this season and has seen many of the juniors who started in the original squad, now playing in higher OCHC Men’s league teams.

Club Hero Award went to James Meers. He has been on hand to support with many an issue around the club over the course of the season. M1s manager but also available whenever the call comes to either manager a squad in need of bench support; fix equipment; find missing players or kit and has generally accepted most challenges thrown his way.

The evening closed with a presentation to the OC Club Management of Georgie and JJ. Having taken over the club management role in 2010 they are off for a well-deserved rest in Devon and leave the club at the end of August. They will be sadly missed for their amazing hospitality and also JJ shouting OOOOOOCCCCCCsssss from the patio to spur on the home side.

A big thank you to the team of Molly, Georgie and Josh for organising the evening. Thanks also to our sponsors and those that kindly donated raffle prizes.

All the photos from the evening can be viewed here. If you have photos you wish to shared on this link please send directly to joinochc@oldcranleighan.com