With Great Britain's Women's hockey team winning a fantastic Gold medal at the Rio Olympics, hockey is very much in the spotlight just now with local clubs reporting a massive increase in interest in the sport.
Alderley Edge Hockey Club are one such club. A leading North West Hockey club founded in 1888, AEHC have just celebrated their 127th season running 7 Men's, 7 Women's and Master's adult teams. They also run a thriving 'Hockey Academy at Alderley' with 300 junior members playing in 'Badgers', 'Beavers' and 'Vixens' junior teams and organise regular hockey camps for children each half term and during school summer holidays.
They also cater for women and men returning to the sport or wanting to play for the first time with weekly 'pay as you go' 'Back to Hockey' sessions. Additionally, in the summer there are informal 'Rush' hockey sessions aimed at people new the game and wanting to keep fit with some lively exercise. Age is no barrier to playing with something for everyone, be they a complete beginner aged 5 or a seasoned 60+ player.
Annual club highlights include the over 40's Men's Veterans Tournament, attracting teams from all over the UK and annual European tours for the 'Back to Hockey' Ladies group and Men's 1st team.
The hockey club is part of Alderley Edge Cricket Club, a 4 sport family friendly club at the heart of the village community with not only hockey and cricket, but also tennis and squash on offer. The club runs a variety of regular social events. comedy nights, quiz nights, race nights, BBQ's, an annual fireworks display and a super end of season 'Black Tie' Ball which all take place at the superb Alderley Edge Cricket clubhouse located on Moss Lane.
In 2011 the club built its own artificial grass pitch at the 'Edge Hockey Centre' at The Ryleys Playing Field on Wilmslow Road in Alderley Edge. Since then, club membership has doubled with over 500 players enjoying their hockey at AEHC - which puts the club in the top 20 in England.
Dynamic growth has come via a vibrant junior section which aims to develop talented youngsters through top class coaching. Last season AEHC was the 12th most successful club in the UK in terms of the numbers of junior club players selected to represent Junior Regional Performance Centre teams and three youngsters were selected for England age group teams.
In 2016 our U14 girls, U12 boys and U18 girls teams all won through to their respective national finals and in the previous season the U12 boys, U16 and U18 girls likewise reached national finals. The club has close links with many local schools and organises tournaments and coaching for primary schools, working with the local School Sports Partnership.
The Ladies 1st team play in North League Division One after securing promotion last season and rounded off their incredible 2016 season by winning the Investec Women's Trophy at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. The 6 other Ladies teams play in the Cheshire Women's leagues.
The Men's 1st team play in North Premier League with the 2nd XI playing in the North Div 1 after also securing promotion last season. The Men's 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th teams all play in the North West hockey leagues.
The club is always interested in hearing from new volunteers to help run the club - be it coaching, managing a team, umpiring or helping man the club's Italian coffee machine down at The Edge Hockey Centre. They claim to make the best espresso West of Milan!
If you're interested in joining or finding out more about playing or volunteering at the Alderley Edge Hockey club go to the club website for more details or call Kelvin Briggs on 07825 213205.