Beeston Hockey Club – a Brief History – 1907 to 2020
Early Days – to 2000
Founded in 1907, Beeston Hockey Club was formed by a number of Nottingham High School Old Boys who lived in Beeston, a suburb of Nottingham.
By 1913/14 they ran 2 teams but in common with many other sports they suspended battle on the field for the real hostilities of the 1st World War, most players having volunteered.
Re-forming in 1919/20, they played in two more venues in Beeston before moving, along with other hockey clubs, to the new City Council park at Highfields in 1928/29 where they remained until 1966/67 when they moved to the ground behind the Ferry Boat Inn at Stoke Bardolph on the other side of the City. It was here that the highly successful Beeston Sixes tournament was started in 1972.
The Club ran 2 teams regularly from 1913 to 1957, 3 teams from 1957 to 1966, 4 teams from 1966 to1971 and then 5,6 and 7 teams until they now field 7 Men’s teams and 7
Ladies teams. The Veterans (Old Bees) were founded in 1977 by Andrew Clarke and a Sunday side, the Besoms, played from 1958 to 1992.
After some ten years (in 1977/78) they returned to Highfields, joining with Crimson Ramblers Ladies Hockey Club to form Highfields Sports Club.
Major changes to the ground facilities took place firstly in 1988 with the opening of one of the first artificial sand-based playing surfaces owned by a private club, an initiative led by John Bosworth and Jed Gisborne.
Secondly and even more substantially, three new pitches (including one of the latest water-based surfaces) were put down and the clubhouse re-modelled with substantial financial aid from Sport England and the Lottery Fund – opening completed in 2002.
In 2005 Beeston HC formed a Ladies Section, largely from the former Charnock Ladies HC and in 2008 Beeston Hockey Club and Nottingham Highfields Ladies HC (formed by a merger between Crimson Ramblers and Sherwood Ladies Hockey Clubs) agreed to merge to form a new Beeston Hockey Club, fielding 8 Mens and 7 Ladies teams.
League Hockey began in the Midlands in 1975/76 with Beeston positioned in Division 3. After fluctuating fortunes, Graham Griffiths and Steve Musson guided the 1st XI into the National League in 1992.
Beeston has established itself in both National Outdoor and Indoor Leagues and having reached the English Hockey Cup Final in 1997/98 they went on to represent England in the European Cup-Winners Cup in Amsterdam in 1999.
In the early days the Club’s administration was dominated by one name – Frederick. L. (Freddy) Jones. A founder member of the Club, he was Hon. Secretary from 1923 to 1960, Hon. Treasurer from 1923 to 1946 and President from 1947 to 1960/61. He then became the first Patron of the Club until his death in 1976. Then came the era of E.P. (Dick) Tew, Patron from 1977 to 1986 and Stan Allen, both of whom filled a variety of official positions during the ‘50s, ‘60s & ‘70s. They were followed by Martin Cattaway and David Paton and in the 1980s by John Bosworth, Steve LeMottee and Richard Kirk and then by David Williams as Chairmen of the Club. Peter Hannah, Axel Palmer, Roger Downer, David Williams and Ian Sutton were Presidents and Peter Hannah was Patron (from 1986 to 2007). Michael Rowen became Patron in 2007.
Adam Dixon and Ollie Willars were once again both part of the Great Britain centrally contracted men’s squad based at Bisham Abbey.
In January 2019, the new FIH Pro League for the top nine women’s and men’s teams was launched. For the first time, England Hockey now has hockey televised regularly in the UK on BT Sport. On the field of play, England men’s team, including Ollie Willars and captained by Adam Dixon, successfully reached the play-offs losing narrowly in the bronze medal match to the Netherlands.
One highlight of the 2019 FIH Pro League was the launch of ‘Big Stadium Hockey’. On 23 June, England Hockey hosted two FIH Pro League games against New Zealand ‘Black Sticks’ at the Twickenham Stoops, home to Harlequins Rugby football Club. Over 12,000 people made their way to South West London to witness a first for hockey anywhere in the world.
Adam Dixon also led the England men’s team in the Belfius European Hockey Championship in Antwerp in August and Adam and Ollie both represented the Great Britain side in the Olympic qualification matches in November. Although qualification was secured, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games has been postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic.
The Great Britain Development Programme aims to provide frequent high-quality contact time for a critical mass of the best British talent. It currently supports 29 women and 34 men. The following Beeston players took part in the programme: Nicki Cochrane, Paige Gillott, Kyle Marshall, Gareth Griffiths, Nick Park, Toby Stanley, Josh Pavis, Henry Croft, Stuart Kentwell, James Hunt.
In July 2019, Gareth Griffiths, Nick Park, Josh Pavis and Kyle Marshall were all part of the England U21 team who picked up a European Cup silver medal in Valencia – the first time an England U21 side has achieved this in 21 years.
Paige Gillott also represented England U21 in the European Championships in Valencia and secured their place in the top division.
Gareth Griffiths, Nick Park and Toby Stanley were also part of the Great Britain U21 side who retained the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia and became the first nation to win the competition three times.
The club’s 1st team squads attracted a number of players from Northern Ireland and overseas this season. Jenny Rizzo (USA), Justine Baily (Belgium), Agus Fernandez (Argentina), Courtney Schonell (Australia), Erin Anderson (Northern Ireland), Katie McKee (Northern Ireland), Esther Chan (New Zealand), Sophie McDowell (Northern Ireland), Jess Hood (Northern Ireland), Nadia Benallal (Northern Ireland), Harriett Dougan (Northern Ireland), Oriol Roca (Spain), Jonas Holtmanns (Germany), Mark Barlow (Northern Ireland), Matthew Crookshanks (Northern Ireland), Elliot Barton (Australia).
In the 2019/20 season the men’s 1st team finished 6th in the England hockey Premier Division. The team also reached the semi final stages of the England Hockey Championships where they were due to play Bowdon before the coronavirus outbreak. At this stage, it is unknown whether the competition will be concluded or not. The team played in the England Hockey Super 6’s Indoor Division 1 and finished 3rd for the fourth year running.
During the 2019/20 season Stephen Lawrence reached a record milestone of 400 first team appearances for the club and Adam Dixon became the first team all time top goalscorer leapfrogging David Griffiths’ record of 129 goals.
The ladies 1st team finished 8th in the England Hockey Investec Premier Division maintaining their status once again. The team reached the final of the England Hockey Championship for the first time in the club’s history and were due to play Clifton Robinsons. As with the men’s competition, due to the pandemic, it is unknown whether or not the final will be played. Unfortunately, the team were relegated from the England Hockey Super 6’s Indoor Division 1 in January 2020.
The FIH introduced the Pro League which is a new and ground-breaking hockey competition that began in January 2019. Two leagues, one men’s and one women’s, each comprising the world’s leading hockey nations, are competing across almost 150 matches, culminating in a Grand Final in June in the Netherlands. Adam Dixon, Mark Gleghorne, Ollie Willars and Nicki Cochrane have all been selected to represent Great Britain in this new competition.
Other international representation include Jack Tranter, Sophie Robinson, Jess Roe and Caro Hulme (Wales), Serena Barr (Ireland), Jade Lamont, Katie McKee and Matthew Crookshanks (Ireland U21), Carrie Hanks (USA U21), Joe Waterston, Tara Aitchison and Bella Fiskin (Scotland U21), Lottie Hulme (Wales U21).
The following players took part in the Great Britain Elite Development Programme: Paige Gillott, Gareth Griffiths, Will Hewer, Morgan Males, Kyle Marshall, Nick Park, Lottie Ross and Eloise Stenner.
The club’s 1st team squads attracted a number of overseas players this season. Serena Barr and Jade Lamont (Ireland), Matthew Crookshanks (Ireland), Carrie Hanks (USA), Bridget Kiddle (New Zealand) and Quentin Lemaire (Belgium).
Finally, Nick King represented England Over 65’s at Real Club de Polo de Barcelona in the Masters Hockey World Cup. Nick made his England debut aged 65, was the top goalscorer in the competition winning the ‘Golden Stick’ and the team went on to win the competition!
In the 2018/19 season the men’s 1st team finished 3rd in the England Hockey Men’s Premier League qualifying for the Championship play-offs for the third successive year at Lee Valley where they lost to eventual winners, Hampstead and Westminster 1-2. The team also reached the quarter final of the England Hockey Cup, losing to Peterborough in a dramatic penalty shoot-out. The team played in the England Hockey Super 6’s division 1 and finished in 3rd place.
Adam Dixon was named in the England Hockey Premier League team of the year once again.
Following promotion to the Investec Premier League, the ladies’ 1st team maintained their status in the league finishing 6th in the 2018/19 season. The team also reached the quarter final of the England Hockey Cup, losing narrowly to Buckingham.
Unfortunately the team were not able to maintain their status in the Super 6’s indoor Premier League, as they finished 9th in the division and were relegated.
The U12 Boys reached the National Finals which take place at Nottingham Hockey Centre on Saturday 18th May. The team won the Midlands final after an exciting penalty shoot-out at Aldersey Leisure Village.
The U14 Girls reached the Tier 2 Championship finals on the 12th May.
The U16 Boys won the new England Hockey Tier 2 Championship.
The U18 boys reached the semi final stage of the England Hockey Tier 1 Championships.
The U18 Boys and U18 Girls reached the National Indoor Finals.
James Albery, Nicki Cochrane, Adam Dixon, Mark Gleghorne, Sam Ward and Ollie Willars are all part of the Great Britain centrally contracted squads based at Bisham Abbey.
The club had good representation at the Commonwealth Games with Adam, Mark, Sam and Ollie all picking up a bronze medal with England. Nicki Cochrane and Caro Hulme both represented Scotland and Wales, respectively.
The following players took part in the Great Britain Development Programme: Alex Blumfield, Esme Burge, Issy Davison, Paige Gillott, Robbie Gleeson, Gareth Griffiths, Kyle Marshall, Eloise Stenner, Rebekah Walker and Lucas Ward.
The club’s 1stteam squads attracted a number of overseas players this season. Lucas Garcia Alcalde (Spain), Marius Gemmel (Germany), Nicola Hammond (Australia), Vicente Martin (Chile) & Sofie ter Kuile (Netherlands).
In the 2017/18 season the men’s 1stteam finished 3rdin the England Hockey Men’s Premier League. The team reached the final of the England Hockey Cup, losing to Reading in a dramatic shoot-out in the final. The team played in the England Hockey Super 6’s division 1 and finished runners up.
Adam Dixon and Sam Ward were named in the England Hockey Premier League team of the year.
The ladies’ 1stteam had a superb season finishing 11 points clear in the Investec North Conference; winning 17 games out of 18. They went on to beat Stourport 1-0, Hampstead & Westminster 2-1 and drew 1-1 against Slough in their final game in the England Hockey play-off finals to gain promotion in to the Investec Premier League for the 2018/19 season.
They also achieved promotion into the Super 6’s indoor Premier League, the first time in the club’s history.
Sophie Robinson picked up the Investec North Conference player of the season and top goalscorer awards for the 4thyear in a row.
Esme Burge, Paige Gillott and Sophie Robinson were named in the England Hockey North Conference team of the year.
The U12 Girlsreached the National Finals and finished a creditable second overall in their group behind Sevenoaks and progressed to the 3/4 playoffs where they beat Clifton Robinson to secure 3rd overall nationally.
The U16 Boys reached the National Finals which took place at Nottingham Hockey Centre in April.
The U18 Boys reached the National Indoor Finals and the Tier 2 outdoor semi-final.
The U18 Girls reached the National Indoor Finals.
In the 2016/17 season the men’s 1stteam finished 5thin the England Hockey Men’s Premier League. A particular highlight of the season was the England Hockey Cup game against Holcombe at Nottingham Hockey Centre. The game finished 3-3 and Beeston won the game after an exciting penalty stroke competition in front of large and loud home crowd. The team reached the quarter final of the England Hockey Cup and lost to the eventual winners, Reading. The team played in the England Hockey Super 6’s division 1 and finished runners up.
Mark Gleghorne, Ollie Willars and James Albery were all part of the England and Great Britain central programme based at Bisham Abbey. Mark Gleghorne was named in the England Hockey Premier League team of the year as voted by the players.
The squad this season was very young with the majority of the players U21 and they should be extremely proud of their achievements.
In the 2016/17 season the ladies 1st team finished 2nd in the Investec Women’s Conference North League and were extremely unlucky not to have won the league.
The team reached the semi final of the Investec Cup for the first time in the clubs history where they lost to Premier League side, Clifton Robinsons with the last strike of the game.
The ladies gained promotion to the England Hockey Super 6s Division 1 having convincingly won the Division 2. The ladies 1stteam squad consisted of many U18 players and a number of the teams’ younger players achieved national age group representation.
Sophie Robinson was named in the England Hockey North Conference League team of the year as voted by the players. Sophie also picked up the top goalscorer and the player of the year award for the second year running.
The ladies 2ndXI reached the England Hockey Ladies 2ndXI Plate final and finished runners up to Sevenoaks.
The U18 boys and U16 & U18 girls all reached the National Indoor Finals with the U18 boys and U16 girls reaching the semi-final stage of the competition.
The U14 girls reached the England Hockey National Finals and finished 7th.
The U16 boys and girls both reached the England Hockey National Finals at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. The boys finished runners up and the girls finished in 4thplace.
The U18 boy and girls both reached the National Final. The girls beat Reading 6-1 and the boys lost to Surbiton 4-2.
In the 2015/16 season the men’s 1st team finished 6th in the England Hockey Men’s Premier League. The team won their 5th EH Cup final which took place at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on 1st May 2016 against Chichester HC. The score was 3-0 to the Bees with 2 goals from Richard Lawrence and 1 from Stuart Pilgrim. Unfortunately we were relegated from the Indoor Premier League but will be fighting for promotion next season. David Ames, Adam Dixon, Mark Gleghorne Harry Martin, Gordon McIntyre, Tim Whiteman and Ollie Willars were all part of the England and Great Britain central programme based at Bisham Abbey.
In the 2015/16 season the ladies 1st team finished 4th in the Investec Women’s Conference North League. The team reached the third round of the Investec Cup where they lost to Birmingham University. The women re-entered the indoor competition for the first time in a few years and after winning the Midlands Qualifier, we progressed to National Division 2, where they finished 5th. Many of the teams’ younger players achieved national age group representation. The team also finished top of the umpires match ratings for hospitality and enjoyment. The club would like to thank departing coach Gareth Hall for his efforts over the last two seasons. Colin Clarke was appointed coach for the 2016/17 season.
Iain Randall represented England Over 40’s in the World Cup in Australia in April 2016. They reached the final only to lose to Australia in the dying minutes of the game.
Congratulations to the men’s 5th team who won their league on the last game of the season and to the ladies 6th team who reached the final of the Notts Women’s Shield and finished runners up.
The U16 and U18 Girls retained the England Hockey National Indoor titles. The U18 boys finished runners-up at the National Indoor finals.
The U18 Girls retained their National Title in May 2016.
42 Boys and Girls were selected for JRPC tier 2 activities; 11 of these were selected for the NAGS academies representing England at junior level.
An eventful season.
The Mens 1st XI came 4th in the Now Pensions Premier Division losing to East Grinstead and Surbiton in the playoffs. Having reached the last 16 in the Euro Hockey League they were beaten by the Belgian club, Royal Daring.
On the plus side David Ames was voted Player of the Year by the other players in the Premier Division.
After 29 wonderfully successful years Graham Griffiths stepped down as 1st XI Manager having brought Beeston from a mediocre Midlands side to the heights of Premier League Champions, England Hockey Cup winners and representing England in Europe.
Steve Musson, previously Assistant Manager, has been appointed in his place.
The Mens 1st XI secured an all-time record in the England Hockey Cup when they beat Hampton in Arden 25 – nil in the third round.
The Mens 2nd I won the national 2nd IX Plate Final and the 3rd XI secured promotion to the Midlands 3rd XI Premier Division.
The Ladies 1st XI had a very difficult year. The loss of key players and coaching/managerial issues led to their relegation to the Conference North Division.
In contrast the Ladies 2nd XI, having come third in their League won the Ladies 2nd XI Cup, beating Surbiton on penalties.
After several successful years James Hopkisson resigned as Ladies 1st XI manager and is replaced by Chris Glover. A new coach will also be appointed.
On the Junior side, after the most successful season ever Martin and Judith Keeling retired after over 20 years of almost continuous success.
This year saw the Boys u-18 as National runners –up; the Boys u-16 as National Champions; the Girls u-18 as National Champions and the u-16 Girls as National runners –up. The u-14 Boys were also National Champions.
At the Indoor competitions the u-16 and u-18 Girls and the u-16 Boys were all National Champions. Beeston were the only club to reach all u-16 and u-18 finals.
Julie Airey has been appointed Junior Co-ordinator.
A major administrative change (in order to address certain financial and taxation issues) took place with the setting up of Beeston Hockey Club as a Limited Company. Five Directors (Richard Butler, BHC Chairman; Andy Smith, Secretary; Adam Milsom, Treasurer; Graham Griffiths and David Griffiths) were elected at the AGM.
The existing water-based pitch will be re-furbished and an additional water-based pitch, in partnership with Nottingham University, will be in place for the start of the 2015/16 season.
A new system for the collection of membership fees and match tax has been put in place – this will substantially improve the finances of the Club.
The coaching structure and personnel for both Adult and Junior Sections is being reviewed with the aim of supporting the continuing success of the club and promoting the strategy of “Sport for All”.
At the highly enjoyable Annual Dinner and Awards evening, following an initiative by Graham Griffiths the Club raised more than £9000 for the new Pitch Fund.
Seasons 2010 to 2013/14
In 2010/11 the Mens 1st XI retained the England Hockey Cup beating Doncaster 6 – 2 in the final and won the League championship by beating East Grinstead 2 – 1 in the play-offs. In European competition they reached the quarter finals, where they were narrowly defeated by the Dutch side HGC.
The Mens 2nd XI won their League Championship and 2nd XI Cup beating Southgate 3 – 2 with David Griffiths scoring a hat-trick.
The Mens 4th XI were their League champions.
The Ladies 1st XI maintained their status in the Womens Conference North League and the Ladies 2nd XI won promotion to the Midlands Premier League.The Ladies 3rd XI winning the Notts Womens Hockey League knock-out Cup and the 4th XI won their league and gained promotion to the Notts Ladies Premier League.
It was also a great year for the Juniors. The u-18 and u-16 Boys were both National Champions and the u-18 and u-16 Girls both reached their National Quarter Finals.
In Indoor competition the Mens 1st XI gained the silver medal and retained their Premier Division status for 2011/12 and the Girls U -18s were National Champions.
In April 2012 the replacement sand dressed pitch was opened and ambitious plans for a major hockey centre at Highfields were revealed.
In March 2012, at the annual English Hockey Board Awards, Beeston Hockey Club was named Harvester Club of the Season.
Both Beeston Mens and Ladies 1st XIs were named Teams of the Year by the City of Nottingham and Broxtowe BC.
The Mens 1st XI won the England Hockey Cup for the third consecutive season, beating Hampstead and Westminster 2 – 1
After coming second in the Premiership they secured second place in the play-offs which means that once again they would represent England in the Euro Hockey league in 2012/13.
In 2012 they also reached the last eight knock-out stage in the Euro Hockey League, beating Club Campo de Madrid 2 – 1 but later losing out to a very good UHC Hamburg team.
At Indoor competition the Mens 1st team squad were runners-up, again retaining their position in the premier league for the next year.
The Ladies 1st XI won the Investec Conference North League against very strong opposition and in the process becoming the highest goal scorers in all the Ladies National Leagues. Unfortunately they narrowly failed to achieve promotion at the play-offs.
In 2013 the Ladies Ist XI became Womens Conference North Champions and thus gained promotion to the Investec Premier League.
The Ladies 2nd & 3rd XIs won their respective leagues.
Ellie Watton and Hollie Webb were selected for England.
Alastair Wilson, Harry Martin and George Pinner were named in the 2012 Olympic squad.
The Men’s Ist XI won the “Now Pensions” Premier League by 11 points and went on to become League Champions – beating Surbiton 5 – 1 in the play-off final and secured Euro League Hockey for 2013/14
In the Euro Hockey League the Men’s Ist XI reached the quarter finals once again, beating East Grinstead 3-2 in extra time but eventually losing to the winners, Bloemendaal.
Adam Dixon captained England and was named “ Now Pensions” Player of the Year.
Simon Egerton won the top goalscoring award and six of the Men’s Ist XI were contracted for the England Training Squad – Ben Arnold, Adam Dixon, Harry Martin, George Pinner, Tim Whiteman and Ollie Willars.
Ben Arnold, Adam Dixon, Harry Martin, George Pinner, Michael Hoare, Simon Egerton and Ollie Willars all represented England at the Super 9s and Champions Trophy Tournament in Australia in Nov, 2012.
The Men’s Ist XI were named Team of the Season and the Now Pensions Junior Award went to Harry Martin.
At the end of the Season there were several changes in the coaching set-up with Matt Taylor being appointed Technical Director to oversee all aspects of coaching throughout the club at both Senior and Junior level. He took over as Men’s Ist XI head coach from Martin Jones who played a crucial part in moving the team forward both on and off the field. Under his leadership the team reached the quarter final stage in the Euro Hockey League for three seasons, won two England Hockey Cup titles and two Premier League Championship titles.
In season 2013/14 the Mens Ist XI won the League Championship play-offs, beating East Grinstead in a penalty shoot-out and thereby securing qualification for the Euro Hockey League again. They also reached the last 16 in the Euro Hockey League finals in April but lost narrowly to the Belgian side Waterloo Ducks.
The Ladies Ist XI retained their National Premier League status finishing 7th.
The Ladies 2nd XI became Midlands Premier League Champions for the second year running and the Ladies 6th XI won promotion to the Notts Womens League Div. 2.
At the Annual Hockey Writers Higgins Awards evening, Adam Dixon was named UK Player of the Year. Chris Proctor and Rebekah Walker won their respective U-18 Player of the Year Awards.
Beeston Hockey Club was awarded Amateur Club of the Year 2013 by Nottingham City Council and the Mens Ist XI was named Team of the Year 2013.
At the Nottinghamshire Annual Sports Awards for 2013 BHC Mens Ist XI was awarded the Achievement of the Year Award.
At the Nottingham Post Awards Beeston Hockey Club was named Club of the Year 2013.
Again many players secured International recognition – Suzy Petty; Ellie Watton ; Adam Dixon; Harry Martin; Tim Whiteman; Ben Arnold; Ollie Willars and George Pinner for England. Phoebe Richards for Wales. Gordon McIntyre and Gareth Hall for Scotland. Mo Ghandi for USA.
At the Annual Dinner and Awards Evening over £1000 was raised to purchase a defibrillator for the clubhouse.
At the AGM in May Martin Keeling stepped down as Chairman after 5 years and Richard Butler was elected as the new Chairman.
Year 2000 to 2010
In 2000, Beeston were relegated to Division 1 and narrowly missed promotion back to the Premiership for 6 seasons. The superb new facilities at Highfields Hockey Centre were being constructed and a young Beeston side, led on the field since 1994/95 by Stephen Wood gradually emerged to coincide with the success of Highfields Sports Club.
In 2006, Beeston, playing as the Nottinghamshire County team, won the National County Championship (for the first time in 49 years of the competition). In addition, the Club regained their Premier League status beating Old Loughtonians in the play-offs in June 2006.
In the 2007/08 Centenary Season Beeston won the Hockey Association Cup after a most exciting final against Bowdon at Highfields when Beeston won 4 – 3 with David Griffiths scoring the vital goal 4 minutes from time.
For 2008/09 the Mens 1st XI, now captained by Stephen Lawrence, came third in the National League which led them to a place in the Euro Hockey League for season 2009/10. However, they lost their third HA Cup Final 3 – 1 to Reading HC.
In 2009/2010 Beeston Hockey Club Mens 1st team maintained their position as one of the top two hockey teams in the country and they won the England Hockey Cup for the second time in three years with a 2 – 1 victory over Hampstead & Westminster.
In the League they were 10 minutes away from winning only to squander a 4 – 1 lead to East Grinstead to draw 4 – 4 and eventually losing on penalty flicks.
On their return to European competition, they reached the last sixteen before losing narrowly and thus just missing out on reaching the European Quarter Finals.