Rod Gilmour hockey paper experiences on a Midlands aspect aiming for the heights of Department 1 hockey.
Birmingham-based Harborne claimed to have scored the primary objective within the first Nationwide League when the 1988/89 got here into motion. The 2022 antique has began with the similar vigour; height scorers, height of the league within the Midlands Males’s Convention and now together with his points of interest set on attaining Department 1 hockey.
Harborne play Town of Peterborough this weekend in a top-flight conflict, with the Midlands aspect set for every other rollercoaster season after being edged out for the name ultimate yr through a powerful Barford Tigers aspect.
For the avid gamers at Harborne, shaped in 1903, promotion would imply so much. “It will be large,” says membership stalwart Adam Thompson, who runs the circle of relatives insurance coverage corporate.
“It will position us really well within the Midlands, which has been reasonably saturated via more than a few golf equipment. Prior to now we’ve got had Harborne, Bournville and Edgbaston who have been additionally competing for avid gamers and no person was once truly outdoing every different as a result of they have been cut up between the 3 of them. So it could be large for us to be promoted and lets draw in avid gamers to the world and in principle be offering the best stage of hockey in Birmingham.”
Harborne’s philosophy is to develop organically above any financial incentive. Says Thompson: “When I used to be captain of the membership we will have introduced in avid gamers for cash however I all the time noticed it as construction on sand. We now have constructed sturdy relationships with the college and are actually a viable possibility.”
Harborne’s attractive taste of play could also be glaring in his unique inexperienced, crimson, and yellow sport jerseys. “Ultimate yr we went again to our Nineteen Nineties unfashionable package,” provides Thompson, “it is been an enormous good fortune and we’ve got moved clear of our conventional package a little bit.”
The membership is situated within the middle of Birmingham however isn’t able to shop for any hockey pitches because of emerging assets costs, so it lately performs at King Edward’s Boys College, which is ready 500 yards from the College of Birmingham.
Thompson, who counts himself a “very previous 38,” has had reasonably a yr. He was once a part of the England Over-35 squad, together with team-mate Mike Baddeley, that beat South Africa to gold on the Masters Global Cup in Nottingham this summer season, whilst additionally gracing the pitch the place the motion happened. elite on the Commonwealth Video games. As a fan, Thompson additionally featured in lots of the video games at Birmingham 2022, whilst Harborne HC was once additionally invited to play in opposition to the college prior to the Video games as a take a look at fit.
“We went to Ghana for an afternoon,” remembers Thompson, “whilst selecting up a large number of sticks that we gave to the nationwide staff. Taking part in at the courtroom was once one thing else. What was once taking place to us was once doubtlessly going to occur to everybody else and I have by no means performed in a sport the place you’ll refer a choice. In spite of everything, the referee is all the time proper!”
Thompson, who could also be the membership’s honorary vice-chairman, has performed as soon as for the 1s in six video games up to now this season, with the membership hoping to dance again this weekend after dropping for the primary time on Sunday to the College of Nottingham 2s. , whilst competitors Peterborough additionally misplaced.
Harborne has Pete Jackson as player-coach this season, and the staff is taking part in a extra attack-oriented logo of hockey. “We now have most probably the most powerful staff within the 3 years I used to be there,” admits Scott Mulligan, staff supervisor at Harborne.
Mulligan is a self-confessed hockey badger. His son performs for the 1s, umpires on Saturdays at his native membership Kettering, trains two or 3 nights per week, whilst Friday nights “are typically the one nights I do not play hockey.”
Game additionally figures prominently in Thompson’s lifestyles after he met his spouse, Michelle, on the membership in 2010. “There are reasonably a couple of just right tales like that on the membership. It is not simply from a hockey standpoint, however the membership has additionally established folks of their private lives.”
The couple had been concerned within the adolescence program at Harborne, which was once established a couple of decade in the past when participants had rising houses and youngsters who sought after to practice within the circle of relatives’s footsteps.
Probably the most good fortune tales of the adolescence program has been Jake Litchfield, whose father Andrew, now membership president, performed in Harborne’s first nationwide league season in 1988.
Jake made his debut for Harborne two seasons in the past and now performs for the College of Exeter. “The membership has are available in leaps and boundaries,” provides Thompson.
Saturday: Town of Peterborough v Harborne, 4:30 p.m.