Thursday, May 23, 2024

Maidstone goalscoring machine, 68, scores 1,000th goal for Kent club

A landmark goal was scored in Kent at the weekend when a Maidstone Hockey Club member scored his 1,000th for the club.

Nigel Swaffer, who is also Maidstone’s chairman, racked up his milestone goal in his 50th season at the club.

Swaffer has kept a meticulous playing record throughout his lengthy playing career and recalls that he first scored for the club against Ashford HC when playing for the second team in 1971.

He netted 298 goals for the first team in 515 league games. Since then Swaffer has so far scored a further 485 in league and cup matches for the Kent outfit.

In 1980/81 he scored 34 goals but has averaged 20 goals a season throughout and has recorded 71 hat-tricks to date. The historic goal came last Saturday, in his 1,370th competitive game.

“By comparison Cristiano Ronaldo has so far scored 800 or so,” the club said.

Now aged 68, the club chairman is captain of the men’s 5s. “With his 16th goal this season last weekend, he achieved this amazing milestone,” the club added.

Long term colleague and past chairman Roger Daniels said: “This is a phenomenal achievement by Nigel, he just keeps going and thank heavens that when first playing he decided to keep a record!”

Maidstone estimate that the club’s next closest goalscorer has around 250 goals.

“Even more impressive is that Nigel’s’ goal tally does not include those scored at festivals, summer friendlies or indoor hockey,” the club statement said. “He truly is a goalscoring machine with amazing consistency.”

The Maidstone facilities include its own clubhouse, built in 2006. Established in 1878 the club is believed to be the fifth oldest in the country.

The Hockey Paper says…

What a fantastic achievement by Nigel. His milestone begs the question: is this a global record and can he lay claim to having the most complete set of statistics? Where sports such as cricket can go back decades with its written and digital history data, hockey rarely delivers when it comes to milestones, records and statistics, which is why this is such a great story.

England Hockey’s new GMS is supposed to (eventually) record data and stats such as this. Of course, it will be years before any player will be able to authoritatively match Nigel’s record.

The Hockey Paper occasionally hears of players who have hit the 300, 400 or more goals milestone, or players with considerably more matches under their belts. We need to hear more stories like this but the sport is poor on delivering. After all, Maidstone even sent in their own press release and images to us, knowing that this was a great story to publish. And it is.

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