It has been a busy year for London Wayfarers!
What’s new and highlights
2017 saw the introduction of a ladies development squad, the Trailblazers, with many former players returning to the pitch to play with our next generation London Wayfarers. We also added a Girls U18 and a Boys U16 team to our junior section and introduced Back To Hockey, edging ever closer to an all ages hockey offering.
There was also success on the pitch with the Boys U12A’s and U14A’s winning their leagues. The Men’s Vikings gained promotion to LHL Division 2 with several other teams narrowly missing out on honours. More and more of our juniors are also put forward for Surrey trials and this year we had 19 boys and girls making it into the Surrey county squads – something we will surely improve on again next season. Well done to everyone and keep pushing!
The club continues to grow and in 2017 we welcomed just over 160 new members to the London Wayfarers family and with over 1000 members we are truly one of the biggest clubs in the country. To cope with this we have once again expanded our sessions, added more coaches and we are developing a new club strategy. One of our biggest success stories must be the Goalkeeper Academy, run by Barbara Pawson and her team, which has record numbers of goalies attending.
Despite all of this we are actually still looking to strengthen our senior teams, in particular our ladies teams. Active recruitment to fill the gaps and attracting great players for next season will be one of our top priorities in 2018. If you have any friends, family or colleagues looking to join a hockey club make sure their new year’s resolution will be joining London Wayfarers Hockey Club!
New venues and coaches
This past summer we also faced some big changes in our pitch and coaching provision due to the initial loss of Raynes Park as a training and matchday ground. Some swift action resulted in Crystal Palace being reintroduced and with the help of England Hockey, our fixtures secretary Simon Haspel and others, we have gradually improved the facilities over the past three months with a lot more to come in 2018. Even the long term opportunities – new facilities and club house – are huge and hopefully we have more to report on that later on in the season. By no means will that result in London Wayfarers leaving their spiritual home in the Battersea / Clapham area but it would allow us to expand and improve our offering.
With the growth in player numbers we have also gone from 6 to 8 venues this year, adding La Retraite and Crystal Palace into the mix and increased use of Battersea Park and Newton Prep. We also invested in our coaching provision resulting in a fantastic set up with highly qualified and experienced coaches working across both senior and junior sections. The seniors have more coaches and better player coach ratios per pitch than ever before. All junior age groups have benefitted from great lead coaches, assistant coaches and senior volunteers.
Another area where we have made huge improvements is our club communications, even though we recognise it can always be better. The brilliantly looking new website has really helped us position ourselves as a social, fun hockey club providing competitive hockey for all ages! Many thanks to our comms team, in particular Aaron Scoones, Charlie Macey, Penny Stubbs and the social media team. If you are not following us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook yet, just search for LondonWayfarers to make sure you don’t miss out!
Know The Rules
In partnership with England Hockey we launched our Know The Rules project delivering umpiring courses for all our senior members, U16/U18 juniors, parents and volunteers. So far 100 people have done the Level 1 umpiring course with another 60-80 to follow in the new year. If you haven’t signed up for one yet be sure to do so as soon as possible. Our aim is to get everyone Level 1 qualified within 2 years and we are well on our way! Many thanks to Dion Oliver, Matthew Dean, David Elworthy, Paul Bentley and Joy Archer for delivering this initiative.
Being social and having fun
Our events team put on some amazing events throughout the year ranging from the London Wayfarers Spring Ball to the Club Days, quizzes and senior parties. The juniors were just as active with the second edition of the Junior End Of Season Olympic Day, very popular hockey camps and our first Girls U13 hockey tour to Barcelona just a couple of weeks ago which was a great success. We also had two visits by Rio Olympic gold medallists, Shona McCallin and Hannah Macleod, inspiring our juniors to be the best they can be!
In the new year we will see many more junior age groups and seniors going on tours in the UK and abroad. For the first time we will also have a club activity where all juniors, seniors and parents are able to participate – the Black & Orange Road Run – on 6 January at Battersea Park. This will be a brilliant opportunity to meet up after the holidays and even go up against fellow London Wayfarers to run off your Christmas dinner. It’s not too late to join this social, the finish is at the Draft House ;-). You can find more details about the road run here.
Every year we recognise the fantastic efforts made by so many on and off the pitch. This year’s Club Awards were presented in May at both the Junior Olympic Day and Club Ball. A special mention here for the newly added Honorary Life Members – Stephanie Black, Catherine Mayo, Simon Haspel, Alex Lawton and Angela Durnin. All of them have received the Outstanding Contribution Award in the past. A full list of the 2017 Club Award winners can be found on our Roll Of Honour page.
Thank you all
I would like to thank all umpires, coaches, committee members, captains, junior volunteers, team managers, social secretaries and active members who have contributed to the club on behalf of all players – senior and junior, and parents. A lot of work is put in behind the scenes; in committees, at home but also on the pitch. We recognised Jo Darley and Tessa Penwarden with Volunteer Club Awards for their fantastic contributions but of course we would not be able to run our club without any of you. We are also very pleased with all the senior teams providing umpires and coaches for our junior section on a weekly basis. It (often 😉 is truly inspirational and always very much appreciated!
However big or small your contribution could be – coaching, umpiring, social media posting or being a committee member – please have a think about how you could contribute to our success and give something back to London Wayfarers Hockey Club in 2018. Please get involved and consider one of the many roles on offer. Speak to any of the Executive Committee members to find out more!
New Club Strategy
One of our biggest projects in 2018 will be the development of a new strategic plan incorporating everything from player development and recruitment to facilities and management. We will keep you informed throughout the process as we aim to implement this before the start of the 2018-19 season. You can still join one of our working groups and contribute directly to our future plans and ambitions. Delivering the best possible hockey experience both on and off the pitch will be at the core of our new strategy.
Just as I have done for the past five years I would like to finish my Christmas message with the same words. Please be respectful towards volunteers, umpires, opposition, our welcoming Draft House friends and fellow team members, offer a helping hand where you can and enjoy your hockey in the coming year!
After all the festive celebrations this month, I hope you all make a healthy and fit return to the hockey pitch in January. On behalf of the Executive Committee I wish you all an enjoyable festive season with family and friends.
Happy Holidays and have a fantastic 2018!
Marcel van Eldik