Guernsey HC can be revealed as The Hockey Paper’s #watchyour1s winner for 2021 after beating off stiff club competition to this year’s top prize.
The £500 prize goes to Guernsey after the club showcased the best overall work from our criteria, which includes examples of match atmospheres, crowd attendance, periphery initiatives on the day and being able to highlight regional media awareness and reach.
The island club used their annual inter-insular tournament against neighbouring island Jersey as part of their competition entry.
Guernsey held off our three commended clubs for 2021 – our inaugural 2019 winners Bedford, St Albans and Wapping.
The weekend last month in Guernsey attracted over 350 spectators as the men’s and women’s 1s played “off island” competition for the first time since 2019 due to the pandemic.
“As other more high profile sports (football and rugby) saw their off-island league opportunities curtailed, interest in local hockey has increased significantly in the last two seasons,” said the club’s media director James Underwood.
“This year was therefore the first inter-insular with a live stream of the 1st XI matches to allow greater engagement from the hockey family.
“As well as the great action on the field, the bar was busy with the usual efforts to raise money for hockey through raffles, sponsors’ lunches, and the now (semi) infamous meat draw.
“Although usually restricted to EH Championship tournaments and Inter Island games, our 1st XI matches are always a spectacle, and are always keen to welcome visiting teams.”
Guernsey Press livestreamed the matches on their Facebook page, while they also inaugurated a plan for photography and local press coverage.
The club was also able to submit examples of significant reach across their social media accounts as interest rose on their #watchyour1s day both regionally and across the globe.
Rod Gilmour, The Hockey Paper’s editor, said: “Guernsey’s entry hit all the right criteria in their submission and are deserved winners of our annual prize. The club was able to demonstrate a clear example of raising interest in print, digital and TV media, photography and social media – but more importantly showcase crowd attendance. Congratulations to all.”
The aim of our campaign is to gain more regional and national exposure, while our manifesto – alongside our #watchyour1s social media hashtag – calls for club members and general sports fans to watch the men’s and women’s first teams and to make hockey a vibrant, atmospheric spectacle throughout the season.
Ahead of this year’s competition, England Hockey chief executive Nick Pink said it was in “massive competition, more than we’ve ever been” against other sports – which is why we are campaigning to boost engagement around clubs across the UK, British Isles and Ireland.
England Hockey’s message to clubs was: ‘Who can come to watch? What else is around the facility that will encourage families to watch?’
And Guernsey showcased all that.