Tavistock Hockey Club was formed in 1948 when land for a pitch was purchased by Messrs Morrison, Maunder, Treloar, and White, who became the first Trustees of the club.
The pitch was located at the rear of Birchwood Terrace, adjacent to the Cemetery. At that time there were only allotments and fields bordering the pitch, and access into the pitch was by means of a cart track.
The Trustees were the “Legal” owners of the club and were responsible for overseeing the affairs of the club. The day to day running of the club fell to a Committee who were elected by the membership at the A.G.M.
In 1966, by agreement with the developers of the Grenville Drive housing, a land “swap” took place to enable the construction of the development to take place. This placed the pitch at right angles to its original position, eventually becoming surrounded by the Grenville Drive housing, and accessed off the Grenville Drive estate road. The new pitch was certainly an improvement over the old, being properly drained and level, and there was the benefit of a small timber clubhouse.
In those early days a local farmer cut the pitch with a tractor towing a set of gang mowers, whose payment was the hay he cut after a summer of growth! Many has been the time when, late on a cold Friday night in darkness, an individual sat in the boot of a car was used to pull a heavy grass roller around the pitch. When the farmer sold up and moved it fell upon the club to purchase a sit- on grass mower and the notorious “mower fund” came into existence which ring fenced monies for repairs to a machine which by the end of the season was on it’s last legs.
The pitch was not the only thing to see change- hockey rules and playing modes have significantly changed. Gone are the days when the umpire penalised a forward for endangering the goalkeeper with a “dangerous “ hit !
In 1965 Messrs Treloar, & White, resigned as Trustees, and Messrs Cooper and Davey were appointed.
In 1977 further changes to the club Trustees occurred, the four existing Trustees retiring and new group of Trustees, were elected. They were Mr. P.Plumb, Mrs. I. Pennington, Mrs. S. Spackman, and Mr. C. Owen.
In the 1980,s fixtures changed from the informal arrangement of “friendlies “ to a formal league system, and later, during 1990’s the move towards the use of artificial playing surfaces brought in further changes to the local league structure requiring all league matches to be played on Astroturf surfaces.
The club was forced to seek Astroturf pitches in the area, which could be hired. Therefore club matches were played on pitches at the Royal Marine base at Bickleigh, Okehampton , and Kelly College.
It soon became apparent that the costs of hiring pitches for teams on a weekly basis, and the ongoing maintenance of the (effectively redundant) pitch at Grenville Drive (how we missed those gang mowers!), was becoming prohibitive as the only funding the club had was the membership subscriptions and match fees.
With a mandate from the membership, and with the cooperation of the Trustees, the decision was taken very reluctantly, to offer the pitch for sale.
In 1997 the lengthy process of selling the pitch was put in motion, and in 2009 the pitch was sold to housing developer, and the old pitch is now a housing development.
In March 2011 the original Tavistock Hockey Club was formally disbanded and the club reconstituted as a Tavistock Hockey Club Community Interest Company, The club policy and financial matters are in the hands of a Board of Directors, who delegate the day to day running of the playing side of the club to a committee.
Since 1948 the club has run both Men’s and Ladies teams without a break, to the present, which with all the struggles to find players, money, facilities, and to keep the mower running, is a testament to the tenacity of the club members through the years.
The Articles of Association for the Tavistock Hockey Club CIC state: -
“The objects of the Company are to carry on activities which benefit the community and in particular (without limitation) to further and promote in the Tavistock area physical activity through hockey, hockey coaching and opportunities to take part in hockey competitions “.
The club runs a full range of activities including four senior teams, two Ladies & two mens, playing in Devon leagues. It also participates in a Plymouth summer mixed hockey league.
Formal training sessions are held at the Kelly College pitch currently for juniors aged from 8 to 14 years, as well as players from the senior teams, coached by England Hockey qualified level 1 & 2 coaches. There are plans to expand these sessions to encompass all age ranges and abilities. Provision is also made for members to undertake training as Umpires and Coaches.
The ultimate aim of the club is to realize the vision of having a pitch and facilities of our own locally, which will enable the club to continue in the pursuit of excellence. To continue running the various teams for all levels of skill and ability, whilst reaching out into the wider community and schools with hockey coaching and events.
The means of achieving these aims are being actively pursued, and it is hoped that it may soon become a reality.
Further information about the club can be obtained by reference to the website- tavistockhockeyclub.co.uk.