Mendip Hockey Club
Mendip Hockey Club is currently combining success on the pitch with a superb atmosphere off it. Sport in Profile Magazine caught up with their Chairman Andy Baird to find out more.
He told us, “I’ve been involved with what is now known as Mendip Hockey Club for at least 25 years. I started playing mixed hockey at the club and continued from there. At the moment we have five teams; two men’s and two ladies sides.”
“The mood at the club at the moment is very good. The strong relationships between the different sections of the club are great to see. We’ve got a good balance here between young players coming through as well some older players that come in from outside to help us develop and push on. Those that have come in have had a real impact and helped us to do well.
“The men’s squad were promoted last season so are now in Central 2. Our current men’s squad is very good. Our ladies narrowly missed out on promotion last year and were just a couple of points away from going up so they’ll be looking to go one better this time around.
“We’re working to see that all of our other team’s win promotion because ideally we don’t want there to be a gap between them because that will mean the step up between the sides could become too big. That will play a major role in our sides being able to sustain their success.
“We changed the coaching structure this year so that all the ladies teams have their own qualified coaches. The coaches of the men’s sides all play for their teams so that side of it looks after itself.
“The junior section is the future of the club and we’re very proud of the fact that a lot of the talent in the club is home grown. Some of them are now playing first team hockey so the pathway is working well.
“We just want to make sure that we are playing very good hockey on the pitch. Also, and this is very important to us, is that people enjoy what they are doing. We are a family club; it is one thing for people to enjoy sport but we also want to have the social side of things doing well.
“For our home clubhouse we use the Midsomer Norton cricket club and that is one of the reasons why the mood is so good. It’s a partnership that I feel works well for both sides. We both want the same things just in different sports; they’re a very family orientated and well thought of cricket club and so the relationship has been very good and long may that continue.
“One of the challenges for us is that the place of Mendip doesn’t exist; it’s a range of hills so we have to make sure that people know we’re based in Midsomer Norton at Norton Hill School and that we serve that area. Potentially, another big challenge for us will be that as the club grows we may need another pitch to fit all our games in over the weekend.
“Five years from now I would like to see us a couple of leagues higher in the league system in both men’s and ladies hockey. If we can nurture our own players and attract good players from outside then it is important to give them the best level possible to play.
“We’re very pleased that what we have is built on local talent, families and a community atmosphere and want to continue that. Basically, we want to be as successful as we can be on the pitch while enjoying ourselves off it. It’s very much a one club mentality and that is something that we must retain whilst continuing to move forward.”