With the start of the season approaching our team of committee members, coaches and volunteers are busily making arrangements to ensure we begin with a bang.
For those that missed our previous announcement we’re really pleased to have Adam Ward join us as our new Director of Junior Hockey. Adam is a FIH Level 2 coach and brings with him a wealth of hockey coaching experience / expertise, having coached successful teams at school, club, county and England level during his career. Adam has already been working hard on the pitch with many of our Juniors attending Summer Camps and pre-season sessions will take place at the beginning of September for those fortunate enough not to have returned to school! Our coaches will be attending a training session on 4th September, along with our Duke of Edinburgh junior coach volunteers and it’s the day we kit out all our Goalkeepers.
We very much look forward to all our juniors returning and welcoming many new faces on 11th September across our three locations -OC Club House, Hinchley Wood (Manor Road) and Oaken Lane. Our army of professional and 80+ volunteer coaches, plus parent helpers are more than ready to support our juniors development. There will be plenty of friendly and league matches to play plus cup competitions at varying levels across the season. More hockey camps are planned for October which will be run by Adam and the coaching team.
The adults section have also been busy over the summer months. The hugely successful Summer Leagues continued to be a great opportunity for many players to keep fit and their stick skills intact. It has also been a great platform to introduce some of our juniors to adult hockey but in a more relaxed environment. Huge thanks to Jackie Waite and Jane Taylor for managing the OCHC leagues and thank you to Grant, Howie and Evo for managing the league team for leagues we entered at other clubs.
The adult section begins their season on 3rd September with our annual Club Day. An opportunity for all existing members, very welcome new members and juniors moving up to adult hockey to get back on the pitch. With the pitch and the club house co-located it is always a great day as many players enjoy the bar, food and chat with old and new faces. The day concludes with the Men’s 1s playing a friendly at 4.30pm against Chichester.
The season the M1s will be looking to improve on 5th position in the Men’s National League Division One South so keep a look out for details on their home games as the squad always say the roar from the stand makes all the difference on match day to their home performance. The Ladies 1s achieved promotion last season which means they now play in London League Division 1 and they’re aiming high again this season. With the London League now into it’s 2nd season this is a great opportunity for all our league teams (14 in total) to push for promotion and we wish them every success but more than anything just being able to play hockey. Cup entries have been made and looking forward to seeing all the teams progress. I would also like to thank Cato Choi and Sarah Mann, our respective Men’s and Ladies Club Captain, in advance of the season as I know they’ll be working hard with the team Captains to achieve the best for each squad.
Off the pitch David Mathews has constructed our new coaching timetable for both adults and juniors, bringing in new coaches to bolster our professional coaching team whist ensuring accesses to training for all ages and abilities. We have a number of new professional coaches all of which have played at the top level both domestically and internationally. We also have our own dedicated in-house Goalkeeper coaching team who will be coaching both juniors and adults. It’s not been an easy task creating a plan to fit everyone’s needs, especially on week nights with just the use of one pitch! The pitch has been re-sanded and with the rain finally making an appearance the surface is much happier. The lights have also been checked so we’re ready for action!
We are always keen to encourage new members so please spread the word and encourage new members of any age or level to see our amazing facilities and what we have to offer. And lastly I must stress to all members that given the unprecedented times we live in paying to play hockey may become a stretch too far for some. We would ask that if this does become the case then please reach out to me or our Ed Thompson, Hon Treasurer (email@example.com) to see if we can support you through our Hardship Fund. It is designed to help our members not give up doing something they enjoy so please ask.
Finally good luck to everyone this season whether you are new to the game or keep playing for the love of the sport and being part of an amazing club.
OCHC Club Captain