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
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
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.
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.