Redbridge & Ilford Hockey Club is a well established club based on the borders of East London and Essex, playing their home games at Redbridge Sports Centre, which is located next to Fairlop Tube station on the Central Line and within easy reach of the A406, A12 and M11.
It all started on 11th September 1906, at an AGM held at the ‘Afternoon Tea Company's Rooms’, where it was decided to form a hockey club, to be called Ilford Hockey Club. The home ground was to be Valentines Park. In 1982, at the AGM, the members agreed to amalgamate with Redbridge Ladies under the name of Redbridge and Ilford Hockey club. In 2006, the club celebrated 100 years of Ilford Men's, 50th anniversary of Redbridge Ladies and the Silver Jubilee of Redbridge and Ilford Hockey Club.
During its history, the Club has had four boys who have represented England at Under 18 level, two England mixed players and a Mixed team in the National finals. In 1920, keeper Harry Haslam was part of Great Britain's gold medal winning team at the Antwerp Olympics.
Recent achievements are the Ladies 1s winning the Essex Premier League title in 2014 and gaining promotion to the East Leagues, the Men’s 1s reaching the semi-final of the NOW: Pensions Men's Vase and the Ladies Vets narrowly losing the final of the Investec Women's Masters Over 35s Shield, the latter being played at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, the home of GB/England Hockey.
The Club has recently returned from Kortrijk in Belgium having taken a touring party there for the past ten years, enjoying not only competitive games, but also the social side of hockey.
The Club runs 4 Men’s, 3 Ladies, 2 Indoor and Mixed teams. The Men play in the East Leagues with the Ladies playing in the East and Essex Leagues. They have a thriving youth section with coaching for children aged five years upwards, entering teams in the Essex mini leagues. They also run ‘Back to Hockey’ sessions for those wishing to get back into the sport again after a break. As a club, they are always looking for new members and whatever your level, they have a team for you. Training sessions take place on Wednesday evenings and will re-start in August ahead of the forthcoming season.
Club members are kept up to date with weekly match reports, game day photographs and news articles via their website. Always looking at ways to expand, the club offers various sponsorship packages with the main shirt sponsor being up for grabs.
If you fancy playing hockey on new sand based pitches with a sociable bunch of people, message them via their website and one of their officials will make contact with you. Go on…you know you want to!
Words and pictures by Graham Hodges