Dunmow Hockey Club
Back in 1965, whilst enjoying a well-earned post-match beer, several members of Dunmow Cricket Club, including local cobbler Barry Ashard, local policeman Geoff Murray, and David Hallams, were debating what to do over the winter months when there was no cricket. Having decided on hockey, they approached the Parish Council who agreed to allow them use of the Recreation Ground, whilst the Cricket Club agreed to allow them use of their facilities for changing and teas.
After local farmer John Smith had removed 71 bales of hay from the pitch area the famous (infamous?) sloping pitch was established and hockey in Dunmow commenced with the Men's team playing on Saturdays and a mixed team playing on the Sunday. In 1970 a second Men's team was fielded and a third quickly followed. With a second mixed team, the “Trotters” (the name originating from the local Dunmow Bacon Factory) starting up in 1978 and a Ladies' team being formed in 1983, by 1988 the club were fielding 5 Men's, 1 Ladies & 2 Mixed teams every weekend,making Dunmow Hockey Club the largest sports club in the town by some considerable margin.
In addition to the No.1 pitch, a second pitch was established on the Recreation Ground, its position on the banks of the Chelmer making “The River Pitch” an obvious name and many a game was delayed as the ball was retrieved from the water. With High Stile headmaster Stuart Weston offering the use of the Junior School pitch and 3 teams at home, by 5pm every Saturday the clubhouse was absolutely heaving.
The early 90’s saw two developments that had a major influence on the development of Dunmow Hockey Club. One was the introduction of astro hockey, which, with no astro available in the town, forced the club into a semi-nomadic period. During this time, home games were played at Felsted School and Braintree Leisure Centre but with no fixed pitch times and fewer people returning to the clubhouse after the games the club atmosphere suffered dramatically. This, combined with the general reduction in the profile of hockey as the memories of the 1988 Olympic success faded saw the number of Mens sides drop from 5 down to 2 before recovering to 3 teams.
The other key highlight was in 1994, when Peter & Linda Round introduced Mini Hockey to the club. The whole of the Junior Hockey section has been a massive success over the years with many youngsters going on to represent Essex, East Region and through Chloe Rogers, Hailey Heggie & Ross Hayward, the National sides. Our junior section was recognised as one of the best in the county and a force to be reckoned with in National competitions.
Dunmow Hockey Club playing until the end of the 2008-2009 season, after which it merged with Braintree Hockey Club to form Phoenix.