Finally, a season where everything was just normal! No more COVID protocols and no more league restructures to bed down. Put simply, it has felt like a far more ‘normal’ season and a successful one too.
Adult Section Summary
During the season we continued to field 5 men’s, 6 ladies and 3 masters league teams on a Saturday and introduced a ladies masters team on a Sunday. The season included 264 league games, an amazing 4 league titles (Men’s 3s, Men’s 4s, Warriors, Stormers); 7 promotions (Ladies 1s, Ladies 5s and Barnstormers), 775 league goals scored and many EH cup runs, of which the Men’s Over 40s made the Tier 1 semi-final. The Men’s 3s achieved back to back promotions too under the guidance of Max Arthur.
The Men’s 1s continues to play in National League Division One South and whilst William Marshall has decided to step down as Men’s Coach they will be ably guided by David Mathews. A special mention to Ollie Davies who as Men’s 1s Captain and OCHC player for 8 years we are sad to see him retire from the Men’s 1s captaincy and the team. His replacement Will Philips is a superb player and will lead the team admirably.
The Ladies 1s triumphed with their league promotion for a second year in a row under Laura Sealey’s leadership and overall ladies club top goal scorer. They will now play in the London Premier League under Ben Roe’s coaching and we are super excited about what they can achieve next season.
Thanks as all our Captains / Vice Captains for the effort they put in weekly. The commitment to Captain the teams is huge so it is unsurprising Sam Biccarino, Laura Sealey, Max Arthur, Jo Mir and Georgie Sangster are stepping down as Captains.
2023-2024 will see 3 new teams. 1 for the Men’s, 1 for the Ladies and an Over 60s Masters Men’s team. Which will ensure plenty of hockey for all our members plus 50+ juniors that play in the adult section from the 1s teams right down to our development sides.
Our core team of 10-15 volunteer umpires were truly amazing again this year overseeing 294 individual home umpiring appointments. The umpiring group is now working to develop a development programme to support new aspiring umpires.
Summer League is always a great fun way to play hockey. Leagues are progressing through to mid / end of July for all abilities.
We must thank the Men’s 1s & 2s shirt sponsor Macai and Ladies 1s shirt sponsor Cayman Islands who continue to provide much welcome support to the teams.
The Junior section continued to thrive with approx. 600 members and 40 active teams from U6s through to our U18s. Adam Ward was appointed as the new Junior Director of Hockey in the Summer of 2022. His wealth of hockey coaching experience, expertise and energy has enabled the juniors to thrive. We continued to have 90+ volunteer coaches, along side our pro-coaches, all of whom were supplied with the tools to deliver coaching sessions across the season. Adam provided much needed weekly guidance on training session goals, including videos on specifics to enable the visualisation of his coaching strategy but also supported coaches through feedback.
The London League has provided many league matches for our juniors alongside the hugely successful mega league. Regular Sunday matches for U10s upwards, alongside week night skills training have been key to the development of many of our age groups. Indoor hockey featured this year for the first time and the U12s Boys were lucky enough to secure a place at the Copper Box.
There were a number of successes across the juniors in their respective leagues and finals success in cup and plate competitions. Most notable was the U14 Sharks winning their Plate competition in a thrilling final at TD. We surpassed last year’s success and will continue to build on them.
Additionally, largest ever number of OCHC juniors gained individual recognition at county and performance centre level. A number of juniors also achieved cup or plate winning success with their school teams in national competitions.
During autumn 2022 our Director of Junior Hockey, Adam Ward, delivered a fantastic hockey coaching programme to primary school students at Hinchley Wood Primary and Thames Ditton Infants. Over the course of the programme, Adam coached over 180 children from year 2; most of whom were completely new to hockey. The sessions included core skills such as dribbling, passing and shooting and culminated in a tournament where the children were able to test themselves against their peers within their own school.
Old Cranleighan HC also supported and attended The Dittons Fair in May 2023. This hugely popular free local event brings many families from all over the area to enjoy a traditional summer fair. A great way for OCHC to be showcasing itself within the area, offering fun hockey and lots of hockey stash freebies. We also use it as a tool to attract new junior members to the club and find the odd parent keen to return to hockey!
We continued our support of the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme for those participating from bronze through to gold level. Over 30+ children received a short induction into coaching, led by Adam Ward, prior to the season start with more volunteers joining throughout the year. Much of the volunteers act as support coaches, including developing their umpiring skills.
Off The Pitch
We say a sad farewell JJ and Georgie Griffin, who have managed the club for the past 13 years have decided to relocate to Devon for a well-earned rest at the end of August 2023. They have both been a big part of the club’s fabric and we are hugely grateful for the support they have given the hockey club over the years. We wish them all the very best.
Another notable departure was Gavin Adair as Chairperson of the Junior section. It was Gavin who committed just over 10 years ago to make a difference and started the Junior section with the support of several other volunteers. What initially began with 50 children on 1 pitch during 1 training session every Sunday is now approx. 600 children, on 3 pitches and 18 sessions across the whole week. The growth of the club is hugely down to what Gavin started. Many of the juniors who started with us at the very beginning continue to play and now play a pivotal role in some of the adult.
Updates on the rest of the club’s news can be found in the AGM reports, which will be circulated to all members by the end of June. This includes updates on coaching plans, finances, strategy, infrastructure improvements etc…
In conclusion, there is a significant amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to manage 800+ playing members and ensure the Club runs smoothly, so a massive thank you to everyone who has helped this season on and off the pitch. Without our volunteer army we could not achieve the success that we do.
If you’re keen to join a growing club with hockey excellence and opportunities for all within a family and community-led environment then click HERE for details on how to contact us.
Now to continue planning 2023-2024 and beyond.
OCHC Club Captain