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Bristol & West Hockey Club

"Bristol's friendliest (and most affordable) hockey club"



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Chairman’s End of Season Message 2017/2018


Thank you to all of you who attended the AGM and awards night on 18th May, it was a smashing evening and a fitting end to what has been one of our most successful and enjoyable seasons ever.  Just to recap (again!);

  • Three teams promoted.
  • Three more top half finishes.
  • Ladies’ team safe in their new, more competitive league.
  • Lots of smiling faces.

As I highlighted in my speech on the evening, I am so grateful for all the hard work put in by the committee and volunteers to help bring this about.  Let’s now get ready build on this success next season (and if you are reading this on our website as a prospective member – please do join us!  Last year’s new members had a phenomenal impact on the club – you can help build on our success!).

The Club’s accounts made very satisfying reading this year and showed that through the diligent collection of fees by the captains and the generosity of many with their time and donations, we accumulated a surplus.  The committee felt that as a “thank you” to everyone, we should propose a reduction in the membership fee for next season by £10.  This was voted on and carried, so next year’s subscriptions will be;

Adults £50

Juniors £25

This does represent incredible value, I’m sure you will agree.  Can there be any other club in the land that has done this?  I doubt it!  The second part of the motion was to introduce a slightly more onerous penalty for not paying on time.  This was also carried and so next year, anyone not paying by the deadline will pay an additional £10 match fee (total £20) until they have also paid their full subscription.  There will be no excuses as we will even have a card reader available at the club next season for easy payment!

Please be in no doubt that although we have lowered the membership fee for next year, this certainly does not mean that we will not be continuing to invest in the club, as and when we see the opportunity.  We already have a good surplus available for that investment and as has always been the case at B&W, anyone who wishes to develop their skills by qualifying as an umpire or coach, or attending any other England Hockey course will have their fees paid, just so long as they commit to using the qualification for the good of the club for a minimum of 1 year.

One area of investment already planned for early next season is an umpire’s development and social evening.  I had tried to arrange this last season, but I did not manage to find a guest speaker.  With Adam Whitlock’s help I am delighted to announce that we will now have David Elworthy, England Hockey Officiating Relationship Manager, coming to speak to us early next season.  The club will lay on an evening of food & drink for our umpires to allow them to share experiences and gain knowledge –along with having a great evening with friends!  At B&W we flippin’ love our umpires!

Junior training went well last year with good numbers attending in all age groups.  It was boosted by a number of newly qualified coaches, but we are always looking for more.  If you are interested in having fun and prepared to commit a modest amount of time to develop the players of the future, please let me know.  Before the start of next season I hope to arrange for the junior coaches to get together to plan how make next season even better.

During the AGM I also spoke about our playing pitch at the Ridings.  Our pitch is obviously vital to our club and with the many changes to the school and sports facilities over the years, we’ve not always been clear what the future held.  We recently participated in the study by South Gloucestershire Council into their sports facilities study and their draft action plan document “South Gloucestershire Draft Playing Pitches, Indoor and Built Sports Facilities Strategies” can be found here;

Encouragingly, the action plan for our pitch is;

“Retain as a hockey pitch and explore funding opportunities to resurface. There is a need for an additional pitch in the Rural Area to accommodate displaced midweek training demand from Bristol & West HC.” 

We hope to be working more closely with the Ridings in future to secure tenure and to have a greater a say in how the pitch is managed and improved.  With ever tightening budgets that is going to be a challenge, but as our club develops it is also going to be vital.

After the AGM we moved on the glittering awards ceremony with some very entertaining speeches by our captains.  A full list of the all the award winners can be found on this website at the “About us” tab by clicking on “Roll of honour”.

That is all for now and I hope that by now you are all enjoying your summer hockey and festivals  - and don’t forget to support our own Badgers (junior) tournament on Sunday 24th June! 

Andy Bryce


Congratulations to the Mens 3rd, 4th and 5th teams who all achieved promotion from their leagues this season, making it a huge step forward for the club.

The rest of the club also had success with 3 other teams finishing in the top half of their league and no relegations from any of our 7 senior teams.

Well done everyone

Chairman’s New Year Message 2018


A very Happy New Year to everyone!  I hope you had an enjoyable festive season and that like me, you are really looking forward to the second half of the hockey season.

Looking back at my Message at this time last year reminded me that at that time the men’s first team were riding high at the top of the league.  Happily, they then powered on to secure promotion, just as the ladies’ had done the season before.  However, other teams were not faring so well and it was a pretty tough end to the 2016/17 season for some.

Over Christmas I had the pleasure of chatting to the Club Captain over a beer or two, and he told me that he thought that this year was shaping up to be a very good one indeed across the whole club.  As a result, people were in general “happy”.  The reason for this rush of endorphins is on the face of it simple, all of our teams are highly competitive in their leagues and led superbly by their captains. 

That got me thinking, surely the most important measure of a club’s success has to be the happiness of its members?  Get that right and success naturally follows.  So if Rob is right and I think he is, it should be very gratifying to all those members and volunteers who work so hard to make it happen.  It may be a simple thing, but it’s not at all easy to achieve.

Of course there will always be individual exceptions for one reason or another, but overall I think that Bristol & West Hockey Club is a great thing to be part of as we head into 2018.  That said, we can never rest or be complacent and one area that I want us to focus on this year is supporting and developing our umpires, some of whom have not always been blissfully happy this season.

I am in the process of arranging an umpire’s evening with a guest speaker which I hope will be well supported and help bring the team together.  We are also acquiring headsets for all club umpires to use (thank you Danco for sponsoring this).  Remember, our umpires are fundamental to our club both in terms of enabling us to play and to our reputation, so please do your part to encourage and help them.  Abuse and inappropriate criticism of umpires damages your club in so many ways. 

Turning to operational matters, it has been busy as ever for the committee this season but one thing I want to mention is “shirts”.  I know some of you are patiently awaiting a new one and we desperately need a set of away shirts.  You might think, like me, that ordering new sets of shirts that match our current strip and at a reasonable price, would be a very straightforward thing to do?  Therefore, quite how the committee has managed to discuss this for hours beats me - but please bear with us, it will happen!

Finally, I’d like to once again thank Karen Bryant for organising another Christmas party.  I had a great time and once I’d woken up the DJ (literally) and given him my playlist (available on request), the evening was a roaring success.  Next year we are looking to do something a bit different as we have done the hotel-dinner-disco thing for quite a few years now.  I would be really grateful for any suggestions?

Andy Bryce

Dates for Christmas.

The last men’s games before Christmas are Saturday 16th Dec.

The last ladies game is Saturday 25th Nov.

The last Badgers game is Sunday 3rd Dec.

The last training is Monday 18th Dec for the juniors and Wednesday/ Thursday 13th/14th Dec for the Adults.

Training resumes on Monday 8th Jan for the juniors and Wednesday/Thursday 3rd/4th Jan for the Adults.

The first men’s and ladies games are Saturday 6th Jan.

The first Badgers game is Sunday 7th Jan.

Have a great Christmas and New year!

Club Captain is "Over the Moon" about the planets

When it was looking like it was never going to happen, the planets lined up and all five B&W teams who played yesterday won:

B&W  4 v 3  Swansea City

Taunton CS  1 v 2  B&W A

Bath Buccs F  1 v 2  B&W B

B&W C  4 v 0  North Somerset B

B&W D  2 v 1  Westbury E

Not only a fine set of results but the long-standing Chairman’s Pledge was triggered.  Following four wins earlier in the day, players were huddled around the wireless at Hambrook Social Club, eagerly awaiting the outcome of the last game of the day, the 3s away at Bath Buccs.  At the final whistle which signalled a 2-1 win, fingers moved feverishly as a plethora of text messages were sent to the Chairman, reminding him of his reckless pledge made two or three years ago to buy everyone in the club a drink if all the teams won.

Even though a technicality could have been claimed that the 6s and ladies had not played, the Chairman has graciously agreed to honour his pledge to the teams that won.  The condition is that the drinks must be claimed at Hambrook Social Club in person at the next home game for the Men’s 1s-5s, one drink per player, if not already done so.  Captains should pay for the drinks out of match fees, noting the total on the match envelope for reimbursement by the Chairman.

The burning question, of course, is whether the Chairman’s Pledge will get renewed……

Chairman delivers on Promise!

A little while ago I made the rather rash promise that if all the club’s teams won on a single Saturday, I would buy everyone who came back to the Club a drink.  In the season that I promised it we came close, but my money was safe.  People seemed to have assumed that it was a promise made in perpetuity and so it was that last Saturday evening my phone was suddenly filled with texts and emails!

Well, I don’t mind a bit; in fact I’m absolutely delighted to deliver on that promise.  So far it has been one of the best seasons I’ve known in recent times with all teams doing well and playing some great matches.  This has in large part been down to the fantastic bunch new members that have joined us this year – it’s great to have you with us and many, many thanks for your fabulous contribution.





Chairman’s new Season Message Autumn 2017

Chairman’s new Season Message Autumn 2017

Chairmans message
Click for PDF

This “start of season” message is going out to you a little late this year. My excuse is that for some reason, there seems to have been an endless list of things to sort out which I could never quite get on top of. However, as usual our hard working committee has got most things running smoothly.

Worth a special mention in this regard is our long suffering Club captain, Rob Ledger who has had a frantic few weeks arranging (juggling?) squads in order to field teams for our friendlies; I think he is a bit stressed (he hides it well beneath that calm exterior) so if you get a chance, give him pat on the back, or even a hug. With patchy availability at this time of year it is always tough, so please also continue to help him and the captains by communicating promptly - and by making yourselves available!

I’m pleased to say we’ve already had a good influx of new members this year, especially juniors & ladies and I’d like to extend a very big welcome to all of you. We never, ever take it for granted that you choose to join B&W, given the multitude of excellent clubs in the Bristol area – so “THANK YOU” and we hope you love being with us!

Those of you who attended the AGM and Awards Night at the end of last season will have heard me talk about personal development and the importance I place on it. Hockey these days is a multi-generation game like never before, with some players continuing into their 70s. At the same time, it has become a far more physically demanding game and many of the key skills have changed. The club expects you to take full advantage of the training sessions that it provides to continue your development over your playing career. One of the greatest contributions you can give to your club (and yourself!) is by taking personal responsibility for maximising your level of achievement, whatever your age or experience. I think the key areas are;

• Body condition, fitness and flexibility
• Learning and mastering new skills

The first is obvious, but not easy to achieve as it requires self-discipline and just plain old hard work. The second is so often overlooked by older players but in this category I include the forehand slap, the reverse slap and the reverse hit – everyone should master these! To do these successfully requires a good degree of flexibility (see point 1) and for most, a lot of practice. Our coaching team are always more than happy to assist you mastering these key skills. You simply can’t play modern hockey well without them!

The juniors have got off to a flying start this year with a big boost in numbers at our training session on Monday evenings. The Badgers have been in action already (see Junior Section of the website) with two great matches and our U12 have their first festival next weekend. At the other end of the club, the Masters have their first EH competition game the week after that.

Finally, continuing on the subject of personal development, you should be aware that your club commits to fully fund courses that people wish to attend to help them give back to their club. As an example, over the next few weeks we have no fewer than 9 people doing EH coaching courses! We always, need umpires and coaches so just ask – the answer is (probably) yes!

I hope you all have a very enjoyable and of course, successful season.

Andy Bryce

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