Maidenhead Hockey club is very proud to be celebrating being shortlisted within no less than three separate categories at this year’s annual, England Hockey Awards. The club features in the ‘Team of the Year’ category in both the male and female categories, as well as having one of its longstanding and most committed members shortlisted as an ‘Unsung Hero’.
Team of the Year – Women
Maidenhead’s Ladies 5s have been shortlisted within this category, recognising the team’s ethos which is to support each other and the club. Formed six years ago, the Ladies 5's team acts as the club’s starter team – encouraging people who may not have played for a number or years (or in fact ever before) to pick up a stick and reignite a love for the sport. The team also acts as a gateway for younger players (Colts) moving up to play in the adult teams. Players from the 5's now play at all levels within the club, including some in the Ladies 1st.
As a starter team our ethos is about supporting each other but also supporting our club. No matter event be it a social or crucial match the Ladies 5s will be there. They are entrenched in the club. On our team we have 2 committee members, a Director of Maidenhead Hockey Club, the Chairman of our U18s International Easter Tour, 2 colts coaches (U16 & U12) and 2 of our qualified First Aiders. They have also led the push to get more qualified umpires in the club and we plan on following this up with a level 1 umpire course over the summer.
The strength of the team ethos and culture has taken time to build and with it has come on field success. For the previous two seasons the 5s have narrowly avoided relegation. With this we learnt that whether you win or loose matches the love of the sport and team is key. This season all our hard work and team ethos is paying off. They finished in fourth place in the Division (Trysports - Three Counties League Division 5 2018/19) missing out on a closely fought promotion. We can account this success to working hard for each other on and off the pitch. We have a new coach (our Ladies Captain, Bex Miall) who focusses on what we need to do on the pitch, which has helped to give us structure and guidance. The team has worked hard in training learning new skills and practicing old ones. But always with an element of fun and support. And giving support and confidence is an essential part of the team. We have taught all our players that through the power of team and club we can achieve anything.
Team of the Year – Men
Maidenhead’s Monarchs are the epitome of team spirit and have pulled together to vastly improve their performance this year. Finishing in fourth place within their league and still in with a chance of promotion, the team has overcome many challenges to succeed. The Monarchs team ended the 2017 season with a narrow 1-0 final day victory which allowed the team to remain in their league and avoid relegation. The team encountered a very turbulent season with a number of results and performances that were not reflective of the capability of the team when at full strength. Fast forward almost 12 months and the team, made up of the same core group of players, are coming towards the end of what has been an extremely successful season with some fantastic results and still with a chance of promotion, sitting 4th in the table. The team has faced the same usual struggles with players coming and going and a lack of cover in certain positions, however, mainly through a very positive team spirit and most importantly, a group who are all enjoying their hockey, the Monarchs have surpassed expectations and drastically improved on last seasons performance. The enjoyment factor has been key throughout the season some of this has come down to the off-field measures that have been taken. The weekly match report has become a key feature which is passed around the team to provide an honest, entertaining and sometimes rather hilarious account of the team’s performance, giving all the players an opportunity to voice their opinion as to how the team has played (as well as the chance to select their man of the match). There has also been a more frequent attendance by a larger number of the players of the after-match teas which has helped boost camaraderie and the social side of being part of the team; more regularly, a good number of the team are back in the clubhouse after matches which also helps promote the atmosphere within the clubhouse to visiting team. In addition, via use of the club’s app and a designated WhatsApp group, the communication in the team has been brilliant and ensured that planning for games is carried out seamlessly, with regular dialgoue and indeed, the chance for bit of team 'banter'. The well-spiritied competition amongst the players has also been a helpful contributing factor with individual statistics on everything from goals scored to clean sheets being discussed regularly (all player statistics are updated after each match) and the ongoing debate around what indeed constitutes the award of an assist (this seems to divide opinion)! All of this has contributed to a group of players always willing to do what is needed for the team and club, exemplified by certain players regularly playing out of the their own favoured position as well as willingly playing for other teams within the club when required. Finally, the additional element that has certainly allowed the whole team to be fully connected to rest of the club has been the numerous responsibilities taken up by the players to assist with the running of the club. Specifically, the following players are involved:
Clint Miles: Monarchs Vice Captain, Summer League B team captain & coaching for U8 & U10 Colts teams
Tim Brennan: coaching for U12 Boys team & Summer League B team treasurer
Chad Fitzgibbon: coaching for U12 Boys team
Duncan Sturdy: coaching for U16 Boys team
Richard Tapner-Evans: coaching for U16 Girls team
Johnathan Crowther: Umpiring for Ladies and Mens teams, Umpiring by appointment, management of Altwood & Club Treasurer
Randy Rottier: Umpiring for Ladies, Mens and Colts teams, Umpiring for Ladies summer league, Vets tournament & Colts Easter tour involvement & mentoring of a Colt in umpiring
Colin James: Mens 2s coach, Mens coaching on Tuesday nights
Rod Gauld: Level 2 England Hockey coach and Head Coach for U6 & U8 groups & assists with Mens coaching on Tuesday nights
Gavin Slater: coaching for the U12 Girls team
Nicholas Wooldridge: Club umpiring & umpiring appointment via BHUA, Director of Maidenhead Hockey Club Ltd & Maidenhead Altwood Astro Ltd
Jonathan Crowther - JC, has been an integral part of our Club for over 30 years, is a well-deserved candidate within this category. A player, umpire, treasurer and pitch facilities manager, his commitment to the club is unrivalled. He is pitch side most weekends, supporting, putting up our banners umpiring or playing. Most club members however wouldn’t know him, as he quietly gets on with his various roles in the club. He was recently instrumental in getting a defibrillator installed, pitch side. JC worked with Maidenhead Football Club, who use the school grounds for matches, and the school itself to install the defibrillator. Little did we realise that within a month of it being installed it would be put to use by JC himself. Only four weeks after its installation, an opposition player from Milton Keynes collapsed during a match due to a heart attack and Jonathan himself used the defibrillator while the ambulance was on its way. His actions bought the casualty valuable extra time and he has since, after a period of time in hospital, made a full recovery. And now the player in question is once again playing hockey.
Quote from Mark Ling from MKHC “the 5 paramedics who also gave outstanding support and care all individually went out of their way to talk to me and asked me to thank all the people that went to my team mates aid. They said it was fantastic and ensured he had the best chance of survival. Since this event, we have played Maidenhead again on the same pitch in November and our player was able to thank JC personally for his quick reaction, calmness and skill – an awesome result for Hockey in every respect”
JC has never sought recognition for his life saving actions, “it’s what anyone would do” he has said about the whole incident.
The awards ceremony will take place in Leicester on Saturday 11th May 2019 and we wish all our hopefuls good luck.