Guildford HC were short-listed for three Active Surrey Awards 2019 and, from a field of hundreds of nominations, won all three.
Guildford HC were awarded:
- Club Excellence: Sports Club of the Year - Guildford Hockey Club
- Sports Team of the Year - Guildford Hockey Club Ladies 1st XI
- Youth Sports Team of the Year - Guildford Hockey Club Boys Under 18
The Active Partnership for Surrey, also known as 'Active Surrey' was set up in 1999 by Sport England and local partners as a not for-profit organisation, hosted by Surrey County Council. Active Surrey and partners play a crucial role in blending Government strategic, health and economic-related objectives with the needs of local people.
Amongst its many initiatives, Active Surrey support local sports councils in hosting annual sports awards. The awards recognise the efforts and achievements of clubs, teams, volunteers, coaches and individuals in a range of sport-related activities.
- The Active Surrey Sport Godalming awards ceremony took place at the Wilfrid Noyce Centre in Godalming on Friday 8 November where the Club and the Ladies 1st XI were presented the winners' shields and trophies.
- The Active Surrey Sport Guildford awards ceremony took place at the Guildford Cricket Pavilion on Thursday 14 November where the Under 18 Boys were presented with the winners' trophy and certificates.
Have a look through what the club has been recognised for thanks to the efforts of so, so many people...
Sports Club of the Year - Guildford Hockey Club
Please describe why you are nominating based on the award criteria:
Guildford Hockey Club set on a five-year plan ahead of its 2015-16 season to get the club on a solid financial footing, to continue to be in a position to stretch and challenge the competitive end of the Senior and Junior teams, and to provide a better environment to grow social hockey in the community.
The Club has made great strides and has achieved most of its targets ahead of schedule. Successes in 2019 include:
Senior Team Promotions: All five GHC Women’s teams earned promotion in their leagues and two Men’s teams earned league promotion. Two of the Ladies teams (4s and 5s) played in the same league and came 1st and 2nd in that division to both earn promotion.
Top End of the Senior Teams: The Men’s and Women’s 1st teams both earned promotion to the Premier Division of the South League with both teams finishing top of their league tables and 8 points ahead of their next rivals. The Men’s 1st finished with a +60 goal difference and the Ladies 1st with a +42 goal difference.
National Championships: The Under 18 Boys won both the England Hockey Clubs Indoor and Outdoor National Championships; the team were defending champions for the Indoor National Championships. The Under 14 Boys also progressed to National Finals. The Ladies 1st team proceeded to the Final of the England Hockey knock-out Tier 2 Championship earning National Silver Medals.
Director of Hockey: The Club defined a Director of Hockey role and hired double Olympian Dan Fox as full time Director of Hockey. Dan is involved in every level of hockey from Under 6s to Senior 1st Teams. His hands-on coaching shares his broad and deep experience across the club which is further leveraged through his development of our 100+ strong network of professional and volunteer coaches and helpers.
Young Leaders Programme: The Club have designed a Young Leaders programme to develop young players (U15-18) who are interested in coaching, umpiring and supporting their younger counterparts. Forty Junior players have signed up for the programme, participated in training sessions and are assisting with training and matches for our U6-U14 squads. This is the most advanced programme of its kind in the country.
Coach Education: The Club’s Junior coaching is mostly done through a network of more than a hundred parents and other volunteers. There is a wide range of skill and experience across this group and similar to the Junior programme, we offer a Coach Education programme with hands on sessions to develop our volunteers (and paid coaches) to deliver the best hockey experience to our players.
Schools Outreach Programme: Many schools in the area do not have resources to deliver a hockey programme to their pupils. We started a Schools Outreach programme and are currently offering coaching to 7 schools who would have otherwise not had access to hockey training. We continue to build this programme, with interest from many more schools and also aim to build a league so the pupils can have matches longer term.
Broadwater School: Broadwater is one of our Schools Outreach schools and we are also working towards building stronger links with the school and parent and student bodies, participating in their Open Evening, running an after school hockey club, inviting parents and coaches to our guest speaker on developing sporting character and offering free membership to Broadwater pupils.
Back to Hockey: We run sessions for adults who have not played the sport for some time and for those who have never played at all. These sessions make it easy to access hockey – participants can move into the league teams or stay with these gentle, social sessions as they wish. The emphasis is on inclusion and outreach to the community.
Growth: The club have added three women’s league teams and two men’s league teams in the past three years. To be able to add league teams at the same time as earning promotion is really pleasing and motivating for club members. It is the first time in the Club’s history we have a sixth Ladies team and now have 8 Men’s teams. The Junior section now has 650 junior members, up from just over 400 four seasons ago. This growth ranges from beginners to Juniors in selection for England squads to Adult players looking to play at the top of the South Region and above.
Pitch Resurfacing – New, Blue, Olympic Standard Pitch: Having been involved in securing funding for the two-pitch site and clubhouse 20 years ago, GHC worked with Broadwater School on the resurfacing of the main pitch at Broadwater School. The recent pitch opening ceremony celebrated the inauguration of this Olympic standard blue pitch. The Club were pleased to have welcomed local dignitaries and club sponsors. We are reaching out more and more to the local community to attend events and enjoy the excellent level of sport on offer in the community.
Social Media Outreach: The club have appointed a digital media student to grow our social media presence to reach out to the community to attract new players, coaches, umpires, sponsors and supporters at all levels.
It has been a head-spinning year of progress as the Club continues to revise its goals and work towards its next 5-year plan. The Club will continue to build on this season and the initiatives in progress and will continue to develop new initiatives (walking and disability hockey, for example).
Please describe the nominee in 3 words:
Sports Team of the Year - Guildford Ladies 1st XI
For the second year running, GHC Ladies 1st XI were awarded the Waverley shield for Sports Team of the Year. The award was in recognition of the team's success in winning South Division 2 with 16 win out of 20 matches played together with their England Hockey Cup run, reaching the final of the England Hockey National Tier 2 Championships competition.
This was the first time in the club's history that a ladies team had reached a national final. The team's work ethic was also commented on, with the commitment the players made to training twice a week whilst juggling work, home life, A levels and GCSEs.
Vice Captain Julia Blackstock and the teams Junior representative, Lara Vincent were there to collect the award.
The evening was a success for the club as a whole as the club was also awarded the Sport Godalming Shield for Club Excellence.
Youth Sports Team of the Year - Guildford Boys U18
Please describe why you are nominating based on the award criteria:
The Boys Under 18 Team won both the England Hockey Indoor National Championships and the England Hockey Outdor National Championships. In both competitions through all local and regional rounds they were undefeated. In the case of the Indoor title they were also defending champions.
The team are a group of 17 and 18-year-old boys who are really passionate about sport and hockey in particular. Many of the boys have played together for a number of years while some of them were newer to the team. The team did really well to incorporate the newer lads and find the time to train and play with each other in national competitions, the sixth form years having so many pressures (school, exams, UCAS, other sport, part-time jobs, etc).
Outdoor National Champions
The Boys entered the England Hockey Tier 1 National Championships, also known as the National Cup competition. Eighty teams from across the country participate in the England Hockey Clubs Championships and the competition is knockout for this age group – a team has to win to progress in the competition.
Guildford Under 18 Boys progressed through their initial rounds with wins over Woking 4-0, Old Merchant Taylor’s 7-0, Marlow 5-0 to meet Sevenoaks in the quarter-final. From 0-2 down the boys battled back in the pouring rain to 4-2 up until Sevenoaks came back to equalise at full time. The result was determined by a penalty shoot-out and the Guildford boys kept their nerve to win this in sudden death 6-5. Guildford progressed to the national semi-final against Wakefield coming out winners 4-1 to meet a tough Cheltenham team who came through their own penalty shoot-out against Beeston in their semi-final.
The Final match was very high quality with Guildford having most of the attack. The talented Cheltenham keeper made the work difficult but Guildford never gave up and the first goal led to two more for a 3-0 lead. The match ended 3-1 with the gold medals going to the Guildford Boys.
Indoor National Champions
The Indoor hockey season takes place in the middle of the outdoor season. The Guildford Boys U18 team entered the South Indoor Finals tournament which serve as Qualifiers for the England Hockey National Finals.
Guildford came through the South Qualifier which brought together the top 11 teams from across the South Region. The boys won 7 out of 7 matches played having scored 30 goals and let in 3 during the entire tournament. One of the opposition teams’ coaches – an extremely experienced school and club coach – said that he had never seen an indoor team as strong as the Guildford team.
Competition in the National Indoor Finals was much stiffer and the boys worked really hard to stay on top of each match. They beat Old Loughtonians 4-0, Doncaster 3-1, Beeston 3-0, and Cheltenham 3-1 to progress to the semi-final where they met a strong Marlow team. The semi-final was a draw and the result was decided by penalty shoot-out which the Guildford Boys won 3-2 to set up the Final against Bowdon, the result of which was a 2-0 win for Guildford.
The boys had to dig really deep to not rest on their laurels and to continue to progress, having won both the South and National Indoor tournaments the year before. As Under 16s they were knocked out at semi-final stage so they did well to improve year on year.
The Boys won every indoor and outdoor match they played in South England and England Hockey competitions during the season; while the results make it sound like it was easy, the reality was never as easy as the scores seem to suggest. The boys often had to work very hard and stay focused and certainly keep their nerve in sudden death penalty shoot-outs.
A handful of the boys had won the Under 12 National outdoor Championship 6 years earlier to the day of the Under 18 one. But in the years in between, some players had moved on, new players joined and the competition of other clubs across the country had strengthened. The Guildford Boys did extremely well to learn to work together as a team, to work for each other and to redouble their efforts to win again on a national stage in a very competitive landscape.
It is also a testament to the boys that many of them volunteered their time to the wider club and their younger counterparts, assisting with coaching and umpiring.
Please describe the nominee in 3 words: