Clubhouse: The end of a great innings

Laurie Mumford Romford HC 2

We’ve all played somewhere where there is a player who’s been there seemingly since the club was formed. They’ve held almost every position on the committee and played in every team. They are, rightly lauded as club legends and are what make many clubs across the land tick. Romford Hockey Club is no exception and recently saw the retirement of Laurie Mumford at the ripe old age of 83.

Having made his debut back in 1959 after making the transition from football, Mumford has managed over 1200 games across 55 years, stopping only for a short break from playing after heart surgery. Retirement is not a decision he has taken lightly and not something that has been a gradual development. The Romford defender has played over 20 games a season for the last two campaigns and is still very active within the club as President and Treasurer.

By his own admission he has never been one to wow the crowds with dazzling stick skills or creative flair but that hasn’t stopped him from enjoying a successful and storied playing career:

“Having never acquired a high level of stick skills I did my best to compensate with energy and effort. Perhaps one of the best compliments paid to me was by an opposing centre forward who near the end of a frustrating game for him turned to one of our full backs and said “Doesn’t he ever give up?!” he recalls.

Laurie Mumford Romford HC 3

Mumford’s final game was against East London, a side picked due to their captain, Roger Lillystone being part of the Romford team alongside Laurie back in 1972-1974. Mumford played with his usual energy and enthusiasm and finished on a winning note when teammate Dave Brazier, himself a sprightly 64 years of age, slotted in the only goal of the game to give his team mate his fairytale send off. It was a poignant day for the Romford defender as his family were in attendance and he was given a guard of honour by both sides as he entered the field.

Although his playing days are now at an end, he will continue in his role as President and Treasurer of the club and will remain a staunch supporter from the sidelines. Fittingly, the last word should go to the man himself:

“Romford has been a great club to play for and I have never felt the need to change or move elsewhere. Playing for all the XIs from top to bottom at different times over the years has provided me with lots of enjoyment.” he adds “To say I will sorely miss playing is an understatement but will continue my support from the touchline and console myself with the many happy memories of games and friends made over the past 55 years.”

Have an interesting tale or a remarkable club member you want to tell us about? Tell us on Twitter @EnglandHockey using the hashtag #Clubhouse.