The Club History

Eastcote Hockey & Badminton Club - The First 50 Years

The club was founded in October 1956 by a small group of hockey enthusiasts and started to play at the Cavendish Recreation Ground in Eastcote and took its name of Eastcote Hockey Club from those roots. Initially one men's team was fielded but very soon a ladies team began to play every Saturday The players used the Council changing rooms and went to the local pub for post match refreshment. The high spot of that first year was the game with the legendary Hounslow, albeit with their 6th XI – how times have changed!

Further teams were added which, because of the limited hockey pitch availability at Cavendish, caused some games to be played at Bessingby Park in Ruislip Manor. A growing feeling of the players was a desire to have their own clubhouse and a permanent base. Through the influence of the then Chairman John Beasley, a local Councillor and subsequent club President, the Council offered a 30 year lease on a small piece of land at Kings College Playing Fields, Ruislip onto which funds could be raised to build a clubhouse with the use of the adjacent grass pitches.

In those days The Department of Education were offering a 50% grant if you built a new sporting facility. The erection of a straightforward clubhouse and bar did not qualify, but with the addition of a Badminton Court, the whole building then qualified. In those days the clubhouse on its own cost £5,500, with Badminton Court added, £11,000, so with a 50% grant the Badminton Court was free. The hall also gave room for teas for up to 5 home teams that were fielded on a Saturday and space for social functions. The small bar was where the existing kitchen now is, spilling out into the badminton hall on a Saturday evening. Kings College provided 5 grass pitches that the club was able to hire on an annual basis, which were more than enough for the club's ambitions at that time. Thus Eastcote Hockey and Badminton Club came into existence. In 1976 the building was extended adding a larger bar area and storerooms and in 1980 a games room was added.

As time progressed the club grew bigger and shale all weather pitches were being introduced as the leading edge of pitch technology. Again through the influence of John Beasley, now Mayor of Hillingdon, the Council installed such a floodlit pitch on the other side of the River Pinn in 1972 and the club were able to hire this by the hour on a Saturday and on a Thursday evening for training. The Club continued to consolidate achieving intermittent success, the high spot being in the late 1970s, when the men's team reached the National Inter League play-offs in Birmingham.

Gradually due to the economic pressure facing Central Government and Local Councils, the level of support from Hillingdon Council slowly reduced, forcing more of the costs of pitch maintenance onto the Club. In the 1980's the Club took out a 10-year licence on the grass pitches becoming responsible for all of the running costs. Astro pitches then started to be introduced in some parts of the country and the club asked Hillingdon Council to upgrade the shale pitch to this new surface, but they were no longer able to support the Clubs latest requirements. In the late 1980's the Council indicated that they would allow the club to raise money itself and build their own astro pitch. This took nearly 9 years to come to fruition.

With the advent of the National Lottery, the money was finally raised with grants from the Lottery, the Foundation for Sport and the Arts, The London Marathon Charitable Trust and Hillingdon Council to add to the money raised by Club members own efforts. In November 1996, celebrating the club's 40th Anniversary, the first game took place on the synthetic grass pitch called the Eastro. Bernhards of Rugby installed the pitch with floodlighting by Musco. When the final breakthrough came on financing the new Eastro pitch, it revitalised the whole Club, even before construction commenced the club began to buzz.

The results that year saw the men's 1st team restored to the South Premier League in 1997 and the following season gaining promotion to the EHA National League for the following two seasons. In 2000 however saw the team relegated back to the South Premier and last season finishing 5th. The First team also won the Middlesex cup about three times. The 2nd team won
the South Premier title in 2001.

The Super Vets over 50s won the EHA National Vintage Cup for 3 years in a row, 1996-98 and in the 11 years of this competition the team has always reached at least the quarterfinal stage. They were runners-up both in 2000 and 2002 semi-finalists in 1995,1999,2001, 2003,2005.

The ladies 1st team won the EHA National Women's Plate in 1999/2000 and were Semi-Finalists in the Trophy in 2001 and 2004 and Quarter Finalists in 2002. Promoted to the South Division 1 in 2004 they finished 5th and last year 05/06 finished 4th - so more progress!

Ladies vets won the Middx cup 04/05, and again in 05/06, where they also went on to win the South cup earning a place in the National Vets Ladies Final, but sadly had to pull out as most of them were in Greece for Batch's wedding !!!!

Colts hockey has always been a strong feature of the Club, right back in the days of the Green Shield Badge Awards. Many of the recent and current top team players are offspring of the senior players 20 year and more ago, with the next generation of grandchildren starting to come through. With the advent of the Eastro, the Sunday morning Colts now starts at 9.30am and carries on until 1pm with around 125 girls and boys receiving coaching. The boys U14s were Middlesex Cup Runners Up in 1999/2000 and winners in 2000/1. The Mixed U11s and Boys U13s were Middlesex Champions in 2003 and both reached the South Championships Semi-Finals, the U16 boys won the Mercian North League title in 2001/2 and were Runners Up at the Mercian Home Counties Final and in 2004 finished 4th gaining promotion to the Mercian Home Counties Premier League.

Colts are now being introduced to Saturday league hockey from the ages of 11 upwards and leading boy colts now are part of an Academy receiving direct coaching from the men's 1st team Coach.

After many years of fruitless negotiation with the Council over the closure of the changing rooms in the pavilion on the other side of the road, building work commenced in the clubhouse in March 2002 on 4 new changing rooms, 2 umpires rooms and a complete refit of the existing 2 changing rooms. This has been funded entirely by the Club and the new rooms were opened in August 2002. The kitchen was also expanded and refurbished at the same time. 2005 has seen the bar refurbished and now includes a wide screen TV. The summer of 2006 will see some substantial refurbishment of the Badminton Hall roof and walls again funded entirely by the club.

A relationship with Brunel University has been in place for over 20 years and this was formalised in 2001 when special arrangements with them allows Students to join Eastcote on preferential rates. We use their Astro Turf pitch in Uxbridge on Saturdays for games. In 2006 a new relationship with Harefield Academy was set up that involves us using their new Astro Turf pitch and establishing reciprocal training and coaching arrangements.

The Club fields 12 men's and 5 ladies league sides on Saturdays, 2 Sunday Mixed, 2 Sunday Veterans and 7 colts league teams.