Based in Somerset, Nailsea Ladies Hockey Club is steeped in tradition, just five years short of its centenary. We caught up with committee member Katie Matthews to find out more about the club.
KUDOS: How and when did you get involved with the club?
Katie: I moved back to Nailsea a couple of years after graduating in Leicester and joined the club straight away. Everyone was welcoming and I loved the community spirit. This eventually pushed me to become a committee member and as you say the rest is history…!
Quite a few of the clubs we work with are relatively new / young. Your club was formed way back in 1924 – that’s a pretty long history you have there. Are there any remaining connections or links with the club’s distant history?
There certainly is. NLHC is proud of its heritage and the players that have helped build the club to what it is today. Recently we celebrated our 95th anniversary, with old, new and future members coming together to celebrate this achievement. Ex-members also help support our 100 club initiative which provides vital funds for the club and many have been awarded lifetime membership as recognition of their hard work and commitment.
How many sections do you have? Do you see many making the journey through the junior sections into the seniors?
We have two senior teams and a thriving junior and mini section. This season we have an influx of juniors who have come up through the ranks. It’s great to see them participating in senior training and already seeing the growth in their game. We have some great talent, with many giving us ‘oldies’ a run for our money! When it comes down to mini’s training, senior team members Dani Pearce and Lizzy Williams have assisted with this to gain experience for use at university and sports camps.
And how have your teams been getting on? Any notable successes?
Last season both senior teams were promoted. Led by captain Gee Corner, the firsts won their league. Our junior section also had success in a variety of tournaments. All of this is down to the players commitment along with the outstanding couching staff, Sam Neate for our senior division, along with Cath Hole and Abi Shorney who are the driving force behind our juniors. Our supporters are also a great asset to the club. Come rain and shine, they are always there offering their support from the sideline.
Have you adopted other variations and initiatives such as Walking Hockey, and if so do you think they’re worthwhile additions to hockey?
Any form of sport be that walking hockey or even fitness training really helps build team morale and spirit. Hockey is about being a unit; depending on others to help you perform. It’s also about being inclusive, providing the opportunity for all levels and ability to get involved.
Women’s sport has enjoyed a real boon in recent years – do you get any sense of that at Nailsea, that girls are more interested in sport now there appears to be more opportunities?
Definitely. Women being honoured and accepted in sports has increased interest in the club. For hockey, I believe Team GB’s success at the Olympics really kicked this off, with names such as Sam Quek, Kate Richardson-Walsh and Maddie Hinch inspiring all ages and abilities to get involved.
How would you sell the prospect of joining Nailsea Ladies HC to someone who might be thinking about joining?
NLHC is more than just a sports club, it’s a community. It’s a place to make friends and of course to have fun! It doesn’t matter if you’ve never picked up a hockey stick or have no idea of the rules – you’ll learn. Although with the rules changing every season it can be hard to keep up! Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter about your ability, we just want women of all ages to come along and give it a go. The social aspect of the club is always great. From quiz nights to bingo, we have something for everyone to enjoy. To find out more visit our Facebook page or website.
Thanks so much to Katie for her time and insight into this grand old club. It’s incredibly heartening for us to see so many of the clubs with which we are affiliated sharing the same values of inclusivity and opportunity. Good luck to everyone at Nailsea Ladies Hockey Club for the future.
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