Chelmsford Hockey Club are a men’s and ladies’ (field) hockey Club based in the County of Essex (England). We have over one hundred and fifty regular adult playing members and field eight men’s teams and five ladies’ teams every weekend, including two men’s veterans’ XI’s.
At Chelmer Park, we own one water-based artificial grass pitch and one sand-filled artificial grass pitch of which we own 10%. We make use of these pitches on four evenings per week and almost the entire weekend. During the summer, Chelmsford Cricket Club share our Clubhouse and use the surrounding grass facilities.
Chelmsford Hockey Club has over 300 active playing members, spanning an age range of over 60 years. In the thriving youth section, there are many children aged 10 and under while, at the senior end of the Club, the Evergreens veteran side has three players aged over 70.
Pride of place at Chelmsford goes to the Ladies 1st XI, four times National Indoor Champions in the last five years and ever present at the upper levels of the outdoor National Premier League, along with the Mens 1st XI, who, in the 2003/2004 season, were promoted for the first time to the English National Hockey Premier Division.
Until recently divided into two clubs, early records show that both Ladies and Men’s sides were founded in 1898, giving the perfect excuse for extensive centenary celebrations to be held in 1998. However, for most of the 20th century, the clubs went their separate ways and only joined forces again in 1971(as part of the newly formed Chelmsford Sports Club) at their newly-built ground of Chelmer Park. In 1987, the Youth Section was formed and now comprises over 100 playing members.
It was appropriate, therefore, in the Centenary Year of 1998, for the separate clubs to be dissolved and be immediately reconvened as the Chelmsford Hockey Club. This appeared to be the catalyst to strive for even greater achievements. Foremost amongst these was the further development of the (re-named) Chelmsford Hockey Centre as a top-quality sports ground commensurate with the demands of National League hockey, not to mention being a venue of choice for fixtures at national and international level, such as the England v Japan match played in late 2003.
Much of this would not have been achieved without the benefit of a close partnership with Chelmsford Borough Council for over three decades, latterly enhanced by the support of Sport England and the National Lottery. The end result is a much-envied sports facility, with a well-equipped clubhouse, excellent changing rooms, a newly-resurfaced sand-base all-weather pitch and a world-class water-base all-weather pitch. This permits the happy coexistence of National League Hockey with lower level club hockey, played in regional and local leagues, and the nine or so youth teams (which are involved in their own competitions). This means that the Club and its pitches are in use four evenings a week and for most of the weekend throughout the season.
Quite naturally, Chelmsford Hockey Club’s success on and off the field has bred individual successes and a long list exists, covering all age groups, of members with representative honours at county, regional and national level – a telling tribute to the substantial investment by so many people and so many organisations in the past and the present that has helped to provide such a superb platform for the future at Chelmer Park.
This, in turn, has attracted sponsorship in various forms from many individuals and organisations, all pleased to play a part in reinforcing the success of the Club at all levels. From the simplest form of sponsoring match-day balls (or the event itself) to the season-long financial support of one or both of the National League sides, there are plenty of opportunities for sponsors of all sizes to participate in the ongoing success story that is Chelmsford Hockey Club.
The recent success (and hopefully future success!) of the 1st XI’s is founded on a thriving Youth Section. Indeed, both 1st XI’s regularly field players who have learned all their hockey at Chelmer Park.
Although the Youth Section is certainly strong in numbers (150 children aged under 16), this has not been at the expense of quality. As already mentioned, several junior players have broken into the both senior Clubs’ 1st XI’s and several more are knocking on the door. In addition, dozens represent Essex at County level in their respective age groups every season, while several go on to represent the East of England at Divisional level and even England at international level.
As well as this individual success, the Club has enjoyed equal levels of team success. While league championships and cup success is common at County level, the junior sides also enjoy success at Divisional level and, in the case of the boys’ Under 18 squad (recent National semi-finalists in the RAF Careers Youth Cup), at national level.
While everything appears to be going well on the pitch, the Club’s major problem is one of balancing the books. It is expensive to maintain one team in the English Hockey League, let alone two! And it is essential that we continue to support all our junior players who represent the future of our club. Therefore, we are always on the lookout for potential sponsors. If you know of any or, indeed, are one, then please let us know.
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