Amber Valley Ladies Hockey Club will be looking to carry on their success story when the new season starts this weekend.
The club was only set up in 2010 by a group of friends wanting to balance playing a competitive sport alongside lives that revolved around work and families.
Setting up a club that was committed to giving players the flexibility required to fit around a busy lifestyle, and also keep hockey affordable, was at the forefront for the founder members, as secretary Dawn Spendlove explained. “We were clear from the outset that the cost of playing hockey shouldn’t be a barrier to anyone and have worked hard securing funding and sponsorships that have made this possible.
“Our shirts and skirts are all provided for us for competitive matches, but even if you just want to give hockey a go and don’t have the kit you can as we have sticks, balls and even shin pads available to borrow; all purchased thanks to the funding and sponsorship we got. We have also managed to keep our subscriptions and match fees competitive and still offer free training for regular players.”
Since those early start up days, the first team, known as The Hornets, has progressed through Derbyshire Divisions 3 and 2 and is currently playing in Division 1. The new season looks set to be just as hard as the last two as Hornets captain Sarah Joyce explained. “The teams that have come down into Derbyshire Division 1 and up from Division 2 are all incredibly strong teams. Looking at the fixtures we have, it’s clearly going to be a very strong division and it will take a lot of hard work to get points on the board. Lots of hard training should set us well on our way.”
Training is on Tuesdays at Mill Hill School, Ripley, from 8pm-9pm.
Not only have the Hornets been a success on the pitch, news of their flexible approach and competitive fees spread and they soon attracted a number of new players and a second team, known as the Bees, was set up.
The team was not initially entered into the league and played a number of friendly games to get some match practice before entering Division 3, which last season they won convincingly.
Team captain Leanne Moffat said: “I think this sums up what we need to be focusing on this season: strength, speed, skill and also fun. If you enjoy hockey you play well. It’s going to be a hard season and we will try new things to help the team to grow and develop.”
If you are interested in knowing more about Amber Valley Ladies Hockey Club, their website is www.ambervalleyhornets.co.u or you could pop along to one of their training sessions.