Wednesday, July 6, 2022

St Albans, Wapping and Bedford hockey clubs commended in #watchyour1s competition

The Hockey Paper’s annual campaign to get more people watching our sport saw a record entry for this year’s competition as leagues returned after the pandemic.

Here, we publish our three highly commended club entries for 2021.

Wapping HC

Saturday 13th November provided an awesome second Wapping HCs Watch Your 1s campaign with The Hockey Paper. Following on from the Women’s 1s game vs PHC Chiswick, our M1 beat West Herts 3-0 under the lights at GB’s home of hockey, Lee Valley, energising the swathes of home and away fans with an electric atmosphere and plenty going on besides. 

Two brilliant games of hockey were complemented with: over £580 raised for charity; a crowd Karaoke rendition of Sweet Caroline; full match-day experience provided by our Men’s 3rd team over the tannoy system including an interactive Player-of-the-Match vote and, of course, a half-time competition between home and away fans in the form of a penalty shoot out against Pamela Anderson.

As a club we were proud to see every level of our club represented and in fine voice in the crowd, from our M2s who travelled back from Surbiton to watch, through to our ‘Kidds’ junior section, who rushed down to get autographs from the M1 on the final whistle.

Both dates were brilliantly successful thanks to a herculean effort from volunteers, none more so than our amazing social media team.

Wapping’s club submission

Bedford HC

The selected womens’ fixture succumbed to a last-minute Covid-related cancellation; the result a rapidly re-scheduled #watchyour1s weekend extravaganza. The two 1st team squads provided the exhibition; publicity looking to draw in crowds and new players. And what a spectacle, ‘Bedford and Khalsa contested the most entertaining game of the weekend’, as reported by England Hockey.  

A second ambition was to build on the ethos that everyone linked to the club is a valued member of the hockey family.  

Crowds embraced all age-groups, babes in arms, who will undoubtedly be holding their first hockey sticks as soon as able; toddlers, who are already starting their hockey journey; juniors, whose skills are being nurtured; seniors and veterans with opportunity to play whatever their skill level, from Walking Hockey to National League. 

Supplementing the crowds were parents, grand-parents, siblings, and others who came for the on-pitch exhibition. Publicity has already recruited new players and followers to the club. 

Historically, first-team players are actively involved in club life, coaching, umpiring, managing teams, committee roles. During #watchyour1s weekend, several elite players joined junior training for a session on penalty corners. The initiative is set to continue with a rota of players attending to share expertise on various skills. 

St Albans HC

On Saturday 21st November St Albans Women’s 1s faced Sutton Coldfield in their top of the table clash. We drew a large crowd and experienced a large amount of social media engagement including some shoutouts on a local radio station. To coincide with the event we hosted a bake sale where various members of the club, including some of our junior section, donated cakes. The bake sale raised an amazing £243.

A reporter from Radio Verulam came to watch the match and has since agreed that once their new sports segment has started, they would love to feature hockey within it including pre- and post-match interviews with different teams. We have also had contact with the local newspaper who were unable to report for this game but have said that they want to report on future games for the club. The campaign was started only a few weeks before the game but the amount of support the club received was extremely promising and we can’t wait to continue doing this campaign and raising awareness for domestic hockey.

Do you have a club feature or story idea? Get in touch!

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