GHC were given recognition for Club Excellence coming runner-up in a large pool of worthy candidates. A pleasant evening was enjoyed at the Wilfrid Joyce Centre in Godalming where the awards were presented by members of the Sport Godalming Executive Committee along with the Mayors of Godalming and Waverley and Guest Speaker Christ Bathey.
Below was the GHC nomination - well done to any and everyone in the club who has helped in large and small ways to make Guildford a Great Place to Play.
Nomination for Club Excellence Award
Guildford Hockey Club have been delivering hockey to the community for more than a hundred years. A volunteer, amateur sports club, the membership and teams have adapted as hockey has progressed and modernised over the years.
The Club moved nearly two decades ago from sharing a ground with the Guildford Cricket Club to having their own clubhouse and two state of the art pitches at Broadwater. More recent years then brought financial difficulty as the club tried to keep hockey affordable while the top Men’s and Ladies’ teams played at the top of the sport in National Leagues. It became difficult to compete with other clubs and other sports as adult member numbers were decreasing while more and more juniors were flocking to the sport.
The past two years have seen a strategic plan put in place to attract Ladies and Men back to the sport and to the club, to provide better coaching all across the club (for more than the top two teams) and to ensure that Junior players will choose and stay with Guildford as their club thanks to outstanding value for money and opportunities for excellent coaching in a family-friendly environment.
Two years of hard work are bringing returns as in the 2016/17 season the club achieved:
- Four National Championship Finals for Junior teams including the Under 14 Girls (Champions), Under 12 Girls (4th place), Under 16 Boys (5th place) and Under 16 Boys Indoor (3rd place)
- Four League Finals Day medals (Under 18 Boys – Gold, Under 16 Boys – Silver, Under 14 A Girls – Gold, Under 14 B Girls – Silver) in the strongest leagues in the country
- South region and County tournament medals for Junior teams in every age group; international medals for three age groups at one of Europe’s most prestigious youth events in Barcelona; full list of Junior team achievements
- Winner of the Top Club award for the Boys League (best performing club across all age groups and leagues)
- One Ladies league team added in 2016/17 and one more being added for 2017/18, showing excellent growth and enthusiasm amongst the Ladies section
- Three of four Ladies teams won their League tables and earned promotion
- One Men’s league team added, which earned promotion in its first season
- Healthy Back to Hockey Men’s and Ladies sessions running weekly to encourage former players and players new to the sport to train in a friendly, social environment; many then take up the challenge to play in league teams
- A successful mixed Men’s, Ladies and Juniors summer programme which had 50+ players coming out every Wednesday during the summer for some fun, social hockey; a Mixed Ladies and Men’s team competed in the England Hockey Mixed Cup
- Ladies Vets won Silver in the South Region Vets (over 40s) tournament
- A very successful Community Partnership programme which works with local companies and organisations to promote goods and services amongst the Guildford HC community and vice versa; uses website / weekly newsletter / social media /annual brochure / events and more to build a community around GHC and our Partners
- Junior school holiday camps run by two-time Olympian Dan Fox who is bringing GB captains and players to the club to train and coach our junior players
- Partnership with industry leader Fortitude UK Ltd to run our Goalkeeper training and holiday camps for goalkeepers
The above successes have allowed a firmer base upon which to grow the coming years and we look forward to continuing the above programme plus these exciting developments for the new season and beyond:
- New Men’s 1st XI team coach who has a proven track record of building and promoting teams
- New Ladies 1st XI team coach who has a similarly excellent experience of training, attracting, retaining and building teams for success
- Two-time Olympian Dan Fox has started in a new role of Director of Junior Coaching to develop and inspire our 60+ volunteer coaches and dozen older junior helpers to deliver an excellent, state of the art hockey programme to our 600+ junior players (up from about 200 five years ago).
- Six professional coaches added to our large body of volunteer coaches in the Junior Section to ensure that our top players are getting the best stretch and development opportunities including those who want to challenge for places in National age group teams.
- Renewal and expansion of our Community Partnership programme with loyal partners returning to us and new Partners joining
- Focus on more social events across the club to build even more of a community and provide events for people to enjoy each other’s company in a safe and healthy environment
- Continued development or our organisational model which inspires more than a hundred players, parents, siblings and friends of Guildford Hockey Club to donate their time and energy to making Guildford a ‘great place to play’.
We are looking forward to another fantastic season for our 7 Men’s teams, 5 Ladies’ teams, Back to Hockey and more than 600 Juniors. And we are looking forward to continuing to develop and implement our strategic programme to continue to deliver a great sporting experience to the community.