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Club Spotlight: Find your game at Guildford HC

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GUILDFORD Hockey Club are looking for adult members to bolster their thriving set-up, so whether you have memories of hockey from school days, were inspired by the women’s triumph in Rio or simply enjoyed watching Sam Quek in the I’m A Celebrity jungle, you will receive a warm welcome at their friendly clubhouse.

Based at Broadwater School, in Godalming, Surrey, the club has been in action since 1912 and currently runs men’s, women’s, mixed and junior teams for all ages and abilities. Think you’re too old? Think again. Think you’re not good enough? Think again. Think you hated hockey at school? It’s a different game now – we promise!

There are currently seven men’s teams, four ladies’ teams and a junior section which regularly attracts more than 500 youngsters – one of the largest in the country. All of this comes together to form a buzzing social scene which is perfect for all the family.

With two artificial pitches on site – one being a state-of-the-art water-based facility – the strictly 21st Century version of the game means bumpy and muddy grass fields are things of the past. The friendly clubhouse allows for players, opponents and guests to mingle before and after training, and on match days.

“We really welcome new players and we would love to see anybody who is interested in playing hockey, whatever your ability or experience,” says board member James Relph. “The club is brimming with activity on weekday evenings and weekends during the season when we are training, playing matches and running social events.

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“We can offer great coaching, fun training sessions and enjoyable matches – a great mix for getting fit, enjoying some team spirit and maybe learning new skills. You are never too young, or too old, for hockey at Guildford.

“For example, we run ladies Back to Hockey sessions on a Monday evening and these are designed for women who maybe haven’t touched a stick since their youth and are looking to have some fun, improve their fitness and meet people. Beginners are also welcome – and there are opportunities to play in matches if you have the confidence, but there’s no pressure.

“The ladies also run Summer Leagues on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to enable players to keep up their fitness levels before pre-season training starts again in August.

“We have a great ladies’ coach in Alice Lane, who has done wonders for the teams and has made training really enjoyable,” adds James. Lane has more than ten years’ National League experience as a player with Reading and an extensive CV as a coach. “They are having a ball this year,” he adds.

The men were relegated from the National League but are fighting back under coach Toby Mullins in the South League and are keen to get back into the elite again. Like the women’s section, they too offer Back to Hockey sessions for those who may want to start in the game – or even start again.

“We also acknowledge that it is difficult for people to be available every week for matches so our teams operate on a pool system, sharing players when it’s necessary or beneficial,” explains James. “That way we can provide value to everyone with our subscription and match fee system.

“All members have the opportunity to train and improve and we provide excellent coaching at every level. We also offer summer hockey and other playing opportunities on an ad hoc basis.”

After matches, opponents and home players are always invited back to the clubhouse to share a meal, a cuppa – and maybe a bevvy or two.

Former Great Britain international Dan Fox, Head of Hockey at Charterhouse school, is taking on the role of Director of Junior Coaching at Guildford.

He is running coaching sessions for coaches, delivering indoor and outdoor camps with some of hockey’s top players and coaches, and helping develop a coaching framework to support the club in delivering great hockey coaching.

Guildford are proud of their links with the sport’s top athletes and coaches. “We have a really proud record of success at Guildford, which combined with our outstanding facilities, lively social scene, and forward-looking management set-up, provides an attractive experience,” says James.“As we like to say: It’s a great place to play.”

For more information, visit the club website at www.guildfordhc.com, email james.relph@db.com or on twitter @Guildfordhc.

TO ADVERTISE YOUR CLUB SPOTLIGHT CONTACT SAM.EMERY@GREENWAYSPUBLISHING.COM OR CALL 020 8971 4337.

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