Harrogate Hockey Club celebrate centenary

Left, President Derek Mitchell with Chairman Julian Rich with players and members.

Left, President Derek Mitchell with Chairman Julian Rich with players and members. - Credit: Joan Russell

Harrogate Hockey Club celebrates its centenary this year. Esther Leach discovers more about its relative success

The wind howled and the skies threatened rain but nothing deterred the players at Harrogate Hockey Club in front of an audience safe and warm in the club house. The crowd thumped its appreciation on the picture windows overlooking play on the pitch. ‘They thump on the windows when we score a goal,’ said club chairman Julian Rich. ‘And when we miss one,’ he added. But it looked at the time as if everything was going their way and it was easy to understand the enthusiasm that has kept this club going for the last 100 years.

Few hockey clubs around the country can claim to have reached such a significant anniversary. Julian thinks its longevity is down to family. ‘Parents and grandparents are members, they coach and actively support each other,’ he said. The clubhouse has a well-stocked bar, a modern kitchen as well as good physiotherapy treatment, an all-weather pitch and success in the different playing divisions; they are all benefits that help to keep supporters happy.

And age is hardly a barrier at the club which is rather hidden away off Ainsty Road, behind Harrogate High School. James Berman runs the juniors’ section which has more than doubled from 160 to 300 members aged between seven and 16 in the four years since he began working with them. And the amount of new talent being nurtured can only guarantee future club success as the young players graduate through the ranks.