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.
From Small Beginnings
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. This was realised when in 1965 the Club relocated to Kings College Playing Fields, Ruislip where with the support of Hillingdon Council, a 30-year lease over the grass area and an area allowed the members to build their own clubhouse. We also built a Badminton hall to allow members to play that sport and to use for social functions and post-match hospitality.
Kings College playing fields 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.
Onwards and Upwards
As time progressed the club grew bigger and shale all weather pitches were being introduced as the leading edge of pitch technology. With further support from the Council such a floodlit pitch on the other side of the River Pinn was built in 1972 by Hillingdon and the club were able to hire this for Saturday games 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.
In the 1980s 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 started to plan to convert the red gras pitch into an Astro pitch and 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 surface was re-laid in 2007 and again in 2016. In order to meet the demands of hockey from the men, women and junior sections and to avoid having to use pitches away from our clubhouse we explored the possibility of building a 2nd pitch at Kings College Playing fields, but this was not successful.
The Men’s and Ladies teams were the leading sides in the South League in the 1980s. The men were promoted to the National League for 2 seasons between 1998-2000.
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 and 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.
The Mixed team have reached the finals of the England Hockey tournament on 3 occasions.
The Men’s 2nd team won the Plate final in both 2008-09 and 2009-10.
The 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.
Junior 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 junior hockey is run at the Eastro.
Junior hockey is organised in 2-year age groups from beginners and U8s up to U16s with coaching and games played at a mixed level up to U10s then split into boys and girls groups. Juniors are now being introduced to Saturday league hockey from the ages of 13 upwards.
Bigger and Better
In 2002 we extended our clubhouse adding 4 new changing rooms, 2 umpire rooms and a complete refit of the existing 2 changing rooms. This has been funded entirely by the Club The kitchen was also expanded and refurbished at the same time. 2005 has seen the bar refurbished and includes a wide screen TV. The summer of 2006 saw 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 2014 the Club announced a new role of Director of Coaching responsible for coordinating and leading coaching in the Men’s, Ladies and Junior sections.
The Club now fields 9 Men’s and 5 Ladies league sides on Saturdays. On Sunday’s, 2 Sunday Veterans teams, the Mixed team and 6 colts league teams compete.