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History 1 of 2

1. RHC Mens Section History

On Monday 10th October 1927, 11 members of the Rotherham Main Tennis Club met at the Colliery Institute to discuss the formation of a Hockey Club so that they had some sporting activity during the winter months. From that meeting attended by an enthusiastic young man call Syd Simmonite, came the birth of 'The Rotherham Main Hockey Club' having a pitch at the Colliery Sports Field and playing several mixed games during that winter of 1927 and the following season 1928-29.

This new club held its first AGM on August 31st 1928 and the members present were Messrs J Allen; M Taylor; F Clayton; F Tomlinson; J Morris; S Simmonite and O Williams. Problems were soon to face the Club in their first full season, the Committee minutes noting that a letter had been received from one of the members complaining at the position in which they were selected, and disaster struck in May 1929 when they were informed that due to Government deciding that Sports Grounds were to become Rateable Land the Colliery would not be continuing the provision of a hockey pitch for the Club.

As the minutes record '..this left the Club in an unfortunate position..' With a perseverance that was going to stand them in good stead during the years to follow the members decided to reform under the new name of 'The Rotherham and District Hockey Club', and following abortive advertising in the local press to recruit lady members the new Club was formed to run a Gentleman’s side only. Newly elected secretary Syd Simmonite was able to negotiate with Mr J Merryweather for the use of a field adjacent to Bawtry Road at Canklow for a ground rent of £5:0:0, with changing facilities at the Miners’ Welfare Hall (3/- [1] per match) and Mr Walker provided teas at 6d [2] per person.

This seemingly well organised situation did have some drawbacks as Mr Merryweather kept his horses on the field during the week, so before games, the players had to arm themselves with buckets to remove sizeable amounts of horse droppings.

Despite the Club only being formed as a Gents side in the Summer of 1929 a full fixture list for the coming season was prepared and 25 matches were played. Their first game was away against Swinton Hockey Club and an 8-0 defeat must have been really disappointing when followed the week after by a 9-0 loss at Mexborough Hockey Club. A 2-2 draw at Worksop was the start of an improvement in results and after their first victory 7-0 at Rawmarsh, the team were treated to a splendid home cooked supper by Mrs Allen, wife of John Allen who was considered to be the 'Father' of the Club.

One of the characters playing for Rotherham in these early days was a Mr M Taylor who was known as 'Major' despite being a deputy at the colliery and having no military connections whatsoever. He was self-conscious about his baldness and insisted on wearing a flat cap even during matches. This once proved to be Rotherham’s downfall when in one close match ‘Major’ Taylor dribbled into the circle only to lose his cap as he beat the last defender. Instead of knocking the ball into the empty goal he turned to recover his cap to the chagrin of his team.

[1] 3/- = 3 shilling old money (equivalent to 15p today)
[2] 6d = 6 old pence (equivalent to 2 ½p)

Rotherham Hockey Club: a Child-Friendly Hockey Environment

Rotherham Hockey Club has been accredited to both the Sport England Clubmark and the England Hockey Clubs 1st Programme since April 2004, with a view to introducing hockey to youngsters and to develop their skills and abilities, both sporting and social.

Rotherham Hockey Club was the first hockey club in Yorkshire to obtain these accreditations, and the club is very proud of them.

Although these awards are specifically aimed towards the Youth section of Rotherham Hockey Club, they do extend to the whole club: wherever youngsters are present which includes our senior teams.