Clubhouse: Life in a Hockey House - The Boys

Hockey Summer - Life In a Hockey House

Many of you out there will know what it’s like to live in a household that’s obsessed with hockey, but imagine four international hockey players all living under one roof…

The decision to centralise training of both the men’s and women’s squads at Bisham Abbey has without a doubt hugely benefitted England Hockey, but it does also mean that England’s stars ideally need to live nearby. Realising this, a number of players have made the decision to live together, with Beeston teammates Ben Arnold, Adam Dixon, Ollie Willars and Tim Whiteman occupying one house (with Harry Martin stopping in several nights a week in between completing his studies at Nottingham University). We caught up with some of them and asked them about life in a real hockey house and if living, training and playing together ever becomes a little bit too much…


BEN ARNOLD “We’ve all known each other for years – I’ve known Dixy [Adam Dixon] since I was nine – and we’re all good mates, so we just looked at the schedules and decided it made sense to get a house together. We ended up getting a place in High Wycombe about 10 minutes from Bisham, which is ideal. It’s quite suburban really, it’s got a garden, dining room – it’s quite civilised…”

OLLIE WILLARS "It’s been a great arrangement. I do think it’s helped that we’ve all known each other for such a long time, I’ve played hockey with Ben since I was 11. We’re all pretty understanding of one another; we can empathise when we’re going through the ups and downs of training and injury. And we’re professional about living together, we eat properly, we train hard we go to bed early, but it’s definitely fun – we can be like big kids at times…”

TIM WHITEMAN "Moving in to the house I reckon we were maybe a bit nervous –would we just wind the clock back and end up living like students? But actually, it’s been brilliant. It’s helped that we know each other very well from club hockey –Beeston’s a really tight-knit community. We don’t actually talk about hockey that much, we spend too much time taking the mick out of each other for that…”

BA “Monday to Thursday we cook for each other, it’s quite competitive actually – no one wants to be the person who cooks the bad meal. I’ve probably never even better to be honest with you…”

BA “There are definitely pranks. Last April Fools’ they made me think we’d been burgled. They came clean when I went and asked the neighbours if they’d seen anything…”

OW “Inevitably, pranks happen. The running one on me is making me jump as I walk down the stairs…”

BA “We have a constant FIFA competition on the X-Box, which revolves around a form hat that you earn by beating the other guys. Dixy’s probably been the most prominent owner of the form hat, although Mark Gleghorne recently came round, won it and took it out of the house…”

TW “The form hat is never far away from me. Don’t listen to what anyone else says, they’re lying. Well, at least I’ve had it more times than Ollie and Ben. I think it comes down to the fact that those who train the most get the most rewards. If we all spent as many hours playing it as Dixy then I’m sure he’d be way down the list. We’ve just not racked up those hours yet…”

OW "I’ve had the form hat once. Adam was the standout player when we started living together, but I think the gap’s been closed. We just need to get the hat back off Mark; him having it is a real issue. I don’t know how he got it in the first place. He’s an average FIFA player. Please quote that.”

MARK GLEGHORNE [when asked specifically about this]: “They’re not winning it back, no way. Although saying that, I can’t turn down a challenge so they’ll probably goad me into playing at some point.”

OW “Cricket in the garden’s a big one. I’m the Sachin Tendulkar of the house. Tim mows the lawn – he’s in charge of that kind of stuff. The wicket’s starting to take shape actually so there might be a few games in the next few weeks.”

BA “Tim’s the green-fingered one. He lives on a farm back home so he’s pretty much the only one of us who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to plants.”

OW “He’s a film buff too, and he’ll put a record from the 60s on his turntable while he’s working. He’s the odd one…”

[Hockey subsequently asks Tim to cast his housemates in films that are particular favourites of the house]

TW “Adam’s into his extreme sports and surfing, so maybe someone out of Point Break. Ollie’s probably Mrs Doubtfire [we assume there’s a reason for this but we’re too nervous to ask] and Ben’s abet of a nerd, we’ll go with McLovin’ out of Superbad.”

OW “Can I just say again that we think the house works really well? It might not come across in what we say…”

BA “There are definitely no shirkers, although if I’m the one saying that maybe that means I’m the shirker…”

You can read the full interview, with the girls and boys, by clicking here. If you want to read more articles like this, check out Hockey Magazine, our quarterly publication sent out to all England Hockey Members and subscribers!