How hockey merger will work

Although the start of the hockey league season is over two months away, preparations are already being made for the coming season and following the mid-summer merger of Sidmouth and Ottery Crickets hockey clubs, it is clear that exciting times lie ahead, writes Ian Brown.

Whilst it is hoped that a successful showing from the Great Britain hockey teams at the Olympics will rekindle interest in the sport, player numbers have been dwindling over recent years and, following lengthy discussions, meetings between the respective clubs’ memberships and ultimately a vote, the two former rivals have amalgamated to make what will be a strong and hopefully vibrant club.

The new club will be known as Sidmouth and Ottery Hockey Club a name which, although perhaps a little unoriginal, does describe exactly how the new club has come together. East Devon would have been apt but a team based in Exeter already goes by the name.

There will be six men’s and four ladies’ senior teams and a crucial part of the club's continuing development is its commitment to junior hockey.

Training centres will continue to operate as previously on Sunday mornings in both Sidmouth and Ottery to continue to allow the net of participation to be cast wide. Juniors will have the opportunity to participate in competitive games (something that has not been possible at Sidmouth in recent years) versus various other local clubs.

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The clubhouse at the Fortfield will be the social hub of the amalgamated club and, owing to the number of games that will need to be played each week, fixtures will take place on the artificial pitches at both Sidmouth and Ottery.

Administration linked to the amalgamation has been occupying the majority of time recently but it is hoped that shortly the club will have decided on a new kit and badge as well as a new website going live.

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Training arrangements for once the season has started ‘proper’ are to be confirmed.

The club is actively seeking sponsorship and is able to accommodate various levels of commitment to an exciting new sports club with a membership surely to be one of the largest in the region.

A shirt sponsor will have far reaching exposure as the club will be participating in games in all parts of the West region including the depths of Cornwall to the west and into Wiltshire in the east

The depth of the new club will serve to be an advantage as the spread of teams will cater for all ages, levels of ability and commitment. The club is committed to ensuring that its membership thrives and enjoys hockey.

Pre-season training will commence earlier than normal, starting on July 24 at the Sidmouth synthetic turf pitch, and on July 25 at the Ottery pitch. Both sessions will run from 7-8pm with everybody welcome.

The aim is to encourage everybody back into enjoying hockey before the serious training starts as the season gets closer.

New members are, of course, welcome and for information, Ian Brown can be contacted on 07855862135

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