Bedford Hockey Club gears up for new season via Zoom

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A first for Bedford Hockey Club has witnessed a highly successful AGM undertaken via Zoom, with a larger than usual attendance.

The 2019-20 season had begun with a buzz of excitement, Club history being made, with both the Men’s and Ladies’ 1st team squads enjoying National League status, joining just 26 other Clubs in the country having been able to make the same claim.

With an ever-growing number of players, the Club now boasts over 550 members, with 14 senior teams and a thriving junior section, with 70 new junior members joining last season alone, bringing the number on the books to 170.

The Club is very proud of its youngsters and is always delighted when juniors realise their potential, especially when they enter England Hockey’s Player Pathway, something achieved by several youngsters this year.

The Club’s Masters players also showed great endeavour; 5 members being selected for England Masters training squads at various age-groups although, with the World Cup having to be postponed, they must wait for the chance to step out on pitch in their England shirts.

It was immensely satisfying when the Club was awarded the honour of being voted Club of the Year in the Bedford Borough Council Sports Awards, formally acknowledging how remarkable Bedford Hockey Club is. With the wide range of hockey available at the Club, from Walking Hockey to National League and Juniors to Masters, the Club enjoys an age-range of players from 5 to 85 and has a skills level suitable for anyone who feels the urge to pick up a hockey stick.

There are also opportunities for umpiring and coaching, as well as a warm welcome to anyone who simply wants to come along and watch the exciting game of hockey being played.

Sadly, the season came to an abrupt end back in March thanks to Covid-19, leaving critical league matches unable to be played, and meaning final league positions had to be determined on a percentage basis.

After a large number of promotions in the previous season the 2019-20 season was always going to be a challenge. All the teams stepped up to the task however and the majority finished mid-table or higher, ensuring an exciting season to come.

Noteworthy results were the Ladies’ 1s finishing 3rd in the Investec East Conference; the indoor squad once again East Champions and reaching the Super Sixes Division 2 stage.

The Ladies’ 7s also finishing the season in 3rd place. On the Men’s side of the Club, the Men’s 5s ended in 4th place and the 3rds and 6ths in 5th.

Looking to the season ahead, there remains a degree of uncertainty as to how, and when, normal hockey will resume. The plan is that the League season will kick-off in September. Already, some activity is possible down on the pitches at the Sports & Hockey Centre, with bookings being taken for small unit play, under strict guidelines.

Needless to say, running an organisation the size of Bedford Hockey Club is not without financial demands, and the Club is always incredibly grateful to its sponsors for their amazing support. Particular thanks go to Bedford Consulting Rooms for their significant support over the past 4 years. Looking on into the next 4 seasons, the Club have announced two new sponsorship deals.

Firstly, Woods Hardwick (a local Architecture, Engineering & Surveying Company) have made the step up from being last season’s National League sponsors to become the new Senior Club backers.

For the first time in the Club’s history, the Junior section now, also, has its own sponsor, Times Tables Rock Stars (an on-line educational times table program).

The Club very much looks forward to working with these two companies, and to the continued relationship with all the other individuals and organisations who provide financial backing.

Words by Jean Fitch

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