Surbiton Colts hits the 500 mark

Surbiton Hockey Club’s top teams are sitting pretty at the top of their leagues at their Christmas break – the men in England Hockey Premier and the ladies in South League 1 – and the Club’s Colts’ (6 – 18) section has mirrored this success by reaching a major milestone and enrolling over 500 junior members for the 2009/10 season.

Fred Moore, Chair of Surbiton Colts’ Section, explained: ‘Our junior teams have been running for 30 years now, and we have recently seen a dramatic rise in children joining our Club.  We are proud to be one of the largest centres for junior hockey in the country and to be doing our part in helping such a large number of local kids enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle.  

He went on to say: 'Every child matters at Surbiton – whether its boys and girls aiming to follow in the footsteps of players such as Sarah Haycroft and Ben Tibble (England U21 players), Maddie Tait (selected for this season’s England U18 training squad) or enjoying their sport at a more modest level.  We therefore regularly run tournaments aimed specifically at those not playing for their counties, whilst also participating fully in England Hockey’s ‘Single System’ activities which focuses on representative hockey’.

Key to the Club’s success has been the implementation of an integrated and professionally-led coaching structure for all its members, whether they be 6 or 60, under the leadership of Director of Hockey and double Olympian Brett Garrard.  

Tim Pinnock celebrates scoring for Surbiton in the Slazenger EHL Premier Division 11.10.08Brett noted that ‘like Ajax and Barcelona in football, we are hoping that our juniors can progress seamlessly to our senior ranks, whether its at 1st or 12th team standard.  We also extend this philosophy to our extensive community programme, which delivers top quality coaching to a further 300 local children every week.  Through this structure we are also drastically reducing the ‘drop out’ rate amongst our 16-18 year olds and are introducing more and more young people to senior hockey’.

The successes of Surbiton’s junior section has led directly to an expansion of its senior ranks, as Mums and Dads take up the sport – in many cases for the first time – and this has meant that the Club has added two further teams to its existing 16 this season.  

As Tom Sheridan, Captain of both the Club and the newly founded mens’ 8th XI, explained, ‘Surbiton has a very strong family ethos which aims to cater for kids of all ages and we are thrilled that so many parents are learning the game  and now play, like their children, every week for the Club.  Whilst we’ll never make the 1st teams, the fun and camaraderie more than make up for our lack of skill, and the whole Club is very pleased that so many young people are also experiencing these benefits here at Surbiton – even if one day they will take our places!’