Wotton-under-Edge HC was a hockey club waiting to happen…

Ever since the mid-1980s, a steady stream of gifted players flowed from the junior coaching at Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School under the watchful eye of Headmaster and then England U16s coach John Law. Limited Astroturf facilities meant long journeys for the many town-based players, who were attached to widely dispersed clubs in the region after leaving full-time education.

The then Bristol based Willie Cruickshank provided the vital catalyst to getting the club up and running. When his job transferred him to the town he ploughed his remarkable energy and enthusiasm for hockey into setting up an indoor team. The potential was clear to see when the team won its division in the Swindon & District Indoor League in 1989 and the following summer won the outdoor Bristol and District Summer League.

A year later an adequate number of players were willing to commit to playing mainstream hockey for Wotton-under-Edge and this led to the club being entered into the regional league in 1991/92. From this starting point (when the entire club membership attended league games) there was almost uninterruptible progress for the club’s 1st XI, who at one stage played in Prem One – the highest level of regional hockey outside the National League. Our 1st XI have once again been playing at this high level for the last 5 years.

As a new club, Wotton-under-Edge HC wished to mark its arrival on the scene and therefore organised an annual tournament, played in early September at Clifton College Sports Ground. The tournament ran for over 18 years with many of the top teams in the West – as well as umpires associations – using the tournament as a pre season sharpener.

As the club established its reputation it attracted enough players that a 2nd XI became viable in 1993/4 and a 3rd XI in 2000/1. The 2005/6 restructuring of the league largely obscured the success of the 2nd XI who won five promotions in ten years. In 2006/07, the club was forced to restructure, dropping the 3rd XI. However as we moved into a new decade, the growth of the club was again reflected in the fact that a 3rd XI was reformed and re-entered the league structure in 2013/14. A Men's 4th XI was added in 2014/15, and they made their league debut in 2015/16. A mens 5th XI was added in 2016/17, and the club continues to run 4 x Men’s XIs to this day

In 2005/06 the club achieved a long held ambition of forming a ladies team and they begun playing league fixtures the following season. This team was an immediate success, both on and off the pitch, winning Severn Division 3 in 2007/08. In 2010/11 the Ladies won the annual pre-season tournament run by the Gloucestershire HA and finished that season as champions of Severn Division 2, with a further league title added in 2014/15. The ladies section continues to grow and a 2nd XI was added to the League in 2012/13, with a 3rd XI added in 2016/17. The club is proud to continue fielding 3 ladies teams each week as of 23/24.

The club’s continued success relies heavily on its commitment to the development of ‘home grown’ junior players. The club has a proud record of junior representation at County level and continues to enter teams in local tournaments at U10 and U12 level. For the older juniors, the club runs boys ‘Badgers’ and girls ‘Vixens’ teams. These teams, made up primarily of U16s, are intended to act as a bridge between junior and senior hockey and have been a tremendous success. In 2013, an u14 boys team ventured on the club’s first foreign tour with a highly creditable showing in the Loenense Mixed Hockey Club Easter ‘Oranje’ Tournament.
In 2022, our u14 Boys were Runners up in the National Tier 1 ‘Supra League’ competition and in 2024 our u16 Boys Indoor team were crowned Super 6s winners – a first National Title for the club!

Wotton under Edge HC has led a nomadic existence over the years, with ‘home’ matches being played at artificial turf facilities in Gloucester, Berkeley, Yate, Stroud and more recently, Thornbury. The club was a founder member of the Wotton Community Sports Foundation, a group of local clubs striving to secure a viable home base for sports clubs in the town. While there were plenty of setbacks along the way, work began on a sand dressed artificial turf pitch at the New Road, Wotton under Edge site (now named Wotton Community PARC) in April 2013 and this was completed in time for the 2013/14 season - the home pitch the club wished for for so many years.

Off the pitch, the club has also progressed. In 2010, the club was awarded England Hockey’s ClubsFirst status, an accreditation which recognizes the club’s commitment to a safe and fun environment for its players. As of 2024, the club is working with its governing body to achieve the updated ‘ClubMark’ status.

Wotton-under-Edge HC remains essentially a club that is proudly based in the local community with the majority of its members living or having connections with the town and its surrounding area.