Welcome to the start of the new season!
We are in a fantastic position with over 140 players within the women’s section, due to this we have made the decision to field an 8th team from this season – this makes us one of the most successful and biggest women’s section in the country. This is something that we should be very proud of.
The influx of players is due to several reasons – players are returning from university (more prevalent than ever this season), juniors are reaching the age of 13 and are eligible to play women’s league hockey and players have joined at the top end of the club. In total, we have had over 25 new players join the club this year, meaning a substantial knock-on effect through all teams and we need to ensure that we can accommodate everyone who wants to play hockey.
We have decided to make some subtle changes to the teams this season based upon a great deal of feedback. 1st – 4th teams will remain as they have been in previous seasons, with the 2nd and 4th team continuing as the junior development teams, providing maximum stretch in order to create an oversupply of talent available for future 1st team squads. The 5th team will become a third junior development team. The 5th, 6th and 7th teams from last year will all move down in numerical order i.e. last year’s squad for the 5th team will become the 6th team and so on.
This will allow for an excellent pathway for juniors and developing players whilst also ensuring that senior players who want to play together can do.
The key message for players is that we are attracting many new performance driven athletes at the top end of the club and overall it puts the club in a much stronger position and creates a more competitive environment. Coaches are selecting on a weekly basis so attendance at training, hard work and commitment will all factor into the considered decisions made at selection meetings.
Can I remind everyone that the captains, managers, committee members and team admin support are all volunteers at the club and without them we would not be able to field any teams. Please can I ask for support for these key individuals to make their lives as easy as possible by responding to requests for availability and then also confirming once the squad lists have been published as timely as possible. Due to the number of players that we have and the stretched volunteer support we cannot be chasing players on a weekly basis.
Historically, the ladies’ section can for many reasons, have upwards of 30 juniors and seniors unavailable at any one time, especially during half-term holidays. The upshot is that we have to be adaptable and as forward thinking as we can whilst still turning out 8 competitive league teams on a weekly basis. Our volunteer team and coaching staff do an amazing job to ensure this happens.
In terms of availability, if you have said that you can play there is an assumption that you can play for any team at any time on that day, enabling coaches to decide which team you will be selected to play for. It is always the section’s aim to ‘stabilise’ the squads as early in the season as is possible, therefore allowing players and parents/guardians to more easily plan availability as far in advance as possible.
We are always looking for more volunteers to help support the running of the teams, if you can spare a few hours throughout the season then please let us know.
Sally Kurton (Ladies Chair) and John Bell (Director of Hockey)