Club History (thanks Bob & Jenny)

The Men's Section

West Bridgford Old Boys Hockey Club (the forerunner of the men's section of the current club) was founded in 1928 by a group of former scholars from West Bridgford School. All the original members were 18 or under and the Club had no funds. During the first season most fixtures were away and not many games were won. The Club just about broke even that year and this has been the aim ever since!

By the end of that season, the Club had managed to obtain use of the Boots ground at Lady Bay for home fixtures and Frank Wain became captain. Frank, later a life member of the Club, held the position for 20 years. In 1930/31 home games moved to Highfields and the first Club Dinner was held that season.

Around this time, the Club opened membership to non old scholars and by 1934 we had 4 players in the Nottinghamshire side, the first having been Frank Wain. The Club did well until the outbreak of war when it survived by dint of combining with Meridian and organising ad hoc games as and when possible. Sammy Hall and Alf Cooper kept the Club going through this time.

Although several members died in the war, the Club was able to start again in 1946 with 2 sides, soon rising to 3. The Club was not strong, however, and in 1950/51, the 1st team failed to win a single game! A recruitment drive followed and results picked up as we moved to the Old West Bridgfordians' Memorial ground in West Bridgford. This move was not entirely successful and we soon moved back to Highfields.

In 1965, responding to the reality that not many players actually came from the school, the Club changed its name to West Bridgford Hockey Club. A 4th team was started shortly thereafter and since then, with a few hitches, the Club has continued to grow. A major factor in the growth was the move back to West Bridgford in 1972, when we moved on to the superb grass pitches at West Park and, the following year, into the brand new (smart!) pavilion that we occupied until 2003.

Since that date, we have had our ups and downs, but we have steadily expanded.

The main change in hockey in that time has been the introduction of Astro turf to replace grass pitches. We have been fortunate that one of the first such pitches was laid by Nottinghamshire Cricket Club at Wilford Sports Complex and we took the opportunity of a regular booking there. Later on, further pitches were laid at the West Bridgford School, (which became our main base), Rushcliffe Leisure Centre and the Boots Ground. We used them all!

Throughout this time, we took the view that it is important to generate atmosphere in the clubhouse, so we made sure that teams finished their games at similar times so that they could meet their friends in the club house afterwards.

At the same time, our bar manager Derek Wise, introduced a policy of stocking real ale, long before this became generally popular. From being known for our dreadful beer, we overnight became a real ale haven in West Bridgford. See separate section for more information on our ales.

Following the GB mens' team's Olympics success in 1988, we realised that the future for hockey lay in attracting more juniors and we began Sunday coaching from that date. Since then the numbers have increased and we now attract some 80+ girls and boys to our Sunday morning sessions at The Becket School on Wilford Lane. (See the Junior Section for more details)

The ladies' section

In 1974 Monarchs Hockey Club (later to form the ladies' section of the current club) was founded by Mavis Taylor. Originally playing on grass at Highfields in an all purple kit we used the old wooden tennis changing rooms (complete with wood burner) for both changing and to serve tea and biscuits after the games.

At this point we ran two ladies' teams - one on Saturday and one on Sunday (for those who worked on Saturday!). All the games were friendlies and they were distinctive for Mavis umpiring with a police whistle and her sitting on the grass roller for a cigarette at half time.

As more teams joined the Nottinghamshire league the numbers were starting to dwindle and friendlies were harder to come by.

Diane Taylor (Mavis's daughter) encouraged the remaining players to take roles within the Club as Mavis had previously done it all herself and some changes were made at this point. Two coaches (Andy Bell and Steve Thompson, both partners of Monarchs players) were recruited, Monarchs entered the Nottinghamshire League and the kit was changed to purple and gold quartered shirts. To aid the move into the league the Club moved to Wilford Lane to play on astro turf.

These changes resulted in the Club attracting more players and a second team was formed.

When Rushcliffe School built a brand new astro turf pitch Monarchs decided to move there. At the same time we merged with YWCA and became Monarchs YW. This allowed the club to continue to grow set up a third team.

The merger

2003 saw the great change in the Club's history. The merger of West Bridgford with Monarchs YW to form West Bridgford Monarchs Hockey Club (WBMHC) allowed us to move to our new clubhouse on Loughborough Road which was built with help from the Lottery and a great deal of effort from many Club members. Following the merger the ladies' section decided to change to the gold and black colours of West Bridgford to give a consistent kit across the whole Club.

This move has been a great success for both the social and hockey aspects and the Club has grown to its current size of 10 men's and 4 ladies' teams plus a men's veterans team for cup matches. There is great potential for the Club to grow further given the successful work being done in the junior section and in encouraging adults 'back to hockey'.

Off the field, we have supplied a good number of officials to both County and Midlands association and, more recently, to help run the rapidly expanding leagues throughout the Midlands. Both Arthur Sandford and Martin Gotheridge have been honoured by being elected President of the Midlands Association and Martin has done much unsung work at both Midlands and national level for the English Hockey Association. On the field, we have supplied many players to the men's and ladies' county squads. Our most famous former junior is Helen Richardson, who surprisingly came through the junior section of WBHC when it was still a men's club. She went on to represent GB at the Sydney Olympics, and London 2012 where she won a Bronze medal. Her brothers, Andrew and Steven, both played in the National League Premier Division, for Canterbury and Surbiton respectively.

The 2012/2013 season was one of our best ever, with all the men's teams playing at or near the highest possible level or gaining promotion to the Premier Leagues and the ladies' first team playing in the Midlands Feeder League East. Our Men's First Team won Midlands Prem and were promoted to the National League for the first time in the Club's history. For a grass-roots amateur Club we are very proud of that achievement.

In 2014 it was decided to change the name from West Bridgford Monarchs to West Bridgford Hockey Club to reflect the fact that the men's and ladies' sections have now coalesced into one club that aims to achieve a balance between playing hockey and socialising.

 A Nice Little Clubhouse ---

2003 saw the great change in the Clubs' home base - moving to our new clubhouse built with help from the Lottery and a great deal of effort from many Club members.

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