The league season has drawn to a close, and what a season it has been, across every level of Bedford Hockey Club, as the club celebrates 125 years since its establishment.
No less than six of the senior sides finished their league run with promotion, and the remaining eight teams all finished mid-table, or higher, in their respective divisions.
Promotions went to the Men’s 1s, who will join the Ladies’ 1s in National League next season, both the Men’s and Ladies’ 2s, the Men’s 4s and both the Men’s and Ladies’ 5s. The Ladies’ 4s and Ladies’ 7s both finished at the top end of their divisions.
At the junior end of the Club, an ever-growing number of youngsters has enabled teams from all of the age groups, Under 8s, 10s, 12s and 14s, to participate in a number of local tournaments, two Bedford sides being entered in some age categories.
Several times, Bedford have returned home with both Gold and Silver medals, after all-Bedford finals.
In England Hockey league competitions, both Boys’ and Girls’ teams have represented Bedford in Under 14s,16s and 18s.
Bedford Hockey Club is immensely proud of its youngsters, and it was a very special moment for the Club when the Under 16s Girls’ team won Bedford Borough Council’s Sports Team of the Year Award.
At the other end of the spectrum, both the Ladies’ Over 35s and 45s made good progress in their England Hockey Masters Championships, the O35s, after a dominant run, being ultimately knocked out by a team that have gone on to be finalists in the competition.
The dream for next year, to make it all the way to the finals in the Olympic Hockey Stadium at Lee Valley.
In May, the Ladies’ Veterans will be making their annual pilgrimage to Harrogate, where they will be defending their champions title, in Harrogate Hockey Club’s 48th Crawfurd Porter Tournament.
The Men’s Veterans team is so robust that, rather than settling for simply playing occasional matches against other veteran’s teams, they play each Saturday within the mainstream league, finishing the season mid-table of the same division that the Men’s 5s have gained promotion from.
A new venture for the Club, this year, has been Walking Hockey. This has proved immensely popular, with upward of 50 people, from an age-range of 7 to 82, having given it a try.
Walking Hockey sessions will continue at the Club every Wednesday evening (7-8pm) until the end of June, on a Just Turn Up basis, before taking a break for the summer.
Mixed summer league, also, begins soon, from the end of April, until the end of June, matches being played on Monday or Tuesday evenings, with 7-8.30pm fixtures.
This year, 16 teams have entered. Anyone who would like to get involved can email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be directed towards a side.
The Hockey World Cup is being hosted in this country, starting in August, so many Club members will be heading to Lee Valley to watch some inspirational action, before the start of, what promises to be, a hugely exciting new league season in September.
Words: Jean Fitch