Photo c/o Andy Smith
On Friday night at Nottingham Hockey Centre, Beeston Hockey Club Ladies 1st XI welcome Belper to play in the first ever Whirlowdale Friday Night fixture.
Following the success of the GB Womens Olympic team this summer, both hockey clubs wanted to explore the possibility of showcasing some of the best local talent in a format that would make it as easy as possible for hockey fans new and old to access.
Beeston Ladies 1st XI Manager Chris Glover explained the thinking behind the idea, “With such a mesmerising performance by the GB girls this summer, we wanted to find a way to show the local sporting public what a fantastic game hockey is. One of the things that many of my friends outside of hockey had commented was how much they enjoyed the pace, work rate, skill and honesty with which the GB girls played, and I thought wouldn’t it be great to have a game in which we could showcase that talent right on their doorstep. It is difficult to get people down on a Saturday, as they are playing their own match, or supporting their local football or rugby teams, but hopefully, with a Friday night fixture and free entry, we can get a few new faces down to the club so they can see what hockey is all about.”
In fact, the aim for both Beeston and Belper is to draw in the largest crowd ever for a domestic female hockey match in the East Midlands.
“It might be a challenging target” added Glover, “But we are really hoping to draw in over 200-300 spectators. That might not sound a lot, but for a local women’s sports match it would be good going.”
Belper are also keen to support the idea, and Glover was delighted that they embraced the suggestion. “We have a great friendship with Belper Hockey Club. While we obviously compete hard on the pitch, they are always very friendly off it and I knew they would be keen to give this a go.”
Sally Goodman from Belper commented, “This really is a great idea and I know many of our members are looking forward to coming across and cheering us on in what will hopefully be a special atmosphere. We have had lots of interest since the Olympics, and for anyone who is interested in seeing a high standard of hockey a bit closer up we encourage you to come along.”
Both clubs can have a claim to helping with the success in Rio, as Hollie Webb who scored the winning penalty came through the Belper youth system before moving to Beeston for a successful two year stint before she moved in the centralised athlete programme in London.
The game at Beeston starts at 7.30pm and the entry to the game is free. Refreshments including food and drink are available from the club house before, during and after the game.