Hockey loses two great contributors

Robert 'Bob' Watson, 21 July 1934 - 23 August 2012

England Hockey was saddened by the news of the death of Robert Watson, known to many as Bob, who passed away last week after a battle with cancer.

A man of great eloquence, intelligence and quick wit, Bob was a barrister by profession but became as well known within hockey circles as he was in law.

He held positions at all levels of hockey, including the role of secretary of the International Hockey Federation’s Disciplinary Committee, a body which he served for 28 years. He was Honorary Secretary of the European Hockey Federation, President of the Great Britain Olympic Hockey Board, and its Fixture Secretary, while also serving on the old Hockey Association executive and as a vice president. In all, he attended 10 Olympic Games in various capacities.

He was Honorary Treasurer of the British Olympic Association (BOA) from 1980-1992 and later served as vice president of the BOA.  He received the IOC Order of Merit in 1992.

Bob’s education began in Switzerland and from there he went to Millfield school in Somerset.  He suffered tuberculosis in his early teens but at Millfield he had the great benefit of being coached at hockey by Olympians Tony Robinson and John Cockett. He represented Millfield at hockey, rugby and tennis.

He went on to read law at University College, London where he was president of the Union, Deputy President of the National Union of Students and was an official of the British Universities Sports Federation. At London University he introduced Purples, along the lines of Oxbridge blues.

He continued his hockey at London University and later played for Sussex. Among his many clubs were Southgate, East Grinstead, Llamas, Wizards (an Anglo-Dutch club playing mostly festival hockey), and the Goan-orientated Lusitanians.  He was captain at London University, as he was at East Grinstead and Southgate. He was also president of Southgate in their halcyon European Cup days.

Bob’s influence on hockey was great. He introduced league hockey at a time when most of his peers still frowned upon competitive hockey, launching the London League. Its introduction led to a marked improvement in the competitive standards of players.

Undoubtedly one of his great contributions was in recognising and supporting the need for hockey to change from being overly amateur to semi-professional. He smoothed the way for important changes that led to Britain winning their first Olympic hockey gold medal, at Seoul in 1988.

Just one of the many other things he initiated was the Hockey Circle, a regular gathering of hockey nuts who met at a pub off Fleet Street to discuss and debate every aspect of hockey.

His huge contribution to the sport of hockey was recognised in 2002 when he received the Sydney Friskin Memorial award from the Hockey Writers Club.

Service of Thanksgiving
Holy Trinity, Priory Rd/Lewes Rd, Forest Row, East Sussex, RH18 5AF
September 25th, 2pm


Richard Norris, 1934 - 2012

We are saddened to report news of the death of Richard Norris, Great Britain’s centre forward at the 1952 Olympics, who has died in South Africa.

Christened Richard Owen Alfred, he was the youngest member of the British team that won bronze medals at Helsinki.

He was selected for Britain while playing for Oxford University. He had a quite outstanding debut, scoring a hat-trick in a 5-4 victory over Netherlands in Amsterdam. He went on to play five times for Britain between 1952 and 53.
Norris remarkably scored in his first six internationals for England and finished with 18 goals in 17 appearances (1953-59).

He taught at Pangbourne and joined Reading after his days at Oxford. 
Recently, Richard came back to Britain from South Africa for the 2012 Olympics and was at the Riverbank Arena on August 1st.

Sadly, he became unwell and was unable to make further visits to the Games. He returned home to South Africa where he sadly passed away.

Contemporary Tony Nunn, said “His humour and friendship will be sorely missed”.