THE PROGRESSIVE DEVELOPMENT OF CANNOCK HOCKEY CLUB 1905 – 2010
“Personnel and facility development have both greatly contributed to the development of the Club since 1905”
Commenced playing in a field rented from D.W Clarke & Sons on Wolverhampton Road.
POST FIRST WORLD WAR
Resumed playing at the Cricket Ground in Wolverhampton Road, and attracted enough players to run two sides with great rivalry between the 1st’s and 2nd’s.
The involvement of staff and pupils from Rugeley Grammar School started a trend that continued through four decades.
The bulk of the organisation of the Club was undertaken by Cliff Moreton who carried a heavy administrative load for some 16 years. Fred Linford’s efforts in encouraging and of cajoling employees to play hockey were vital in enabling Cannock to continue to run a 2nd Xl. 1932 saw the opening of new pitches at Cannock Park.
Cannock was one of the first clubs in the Midlands to restart after the Second World War and included many who had just finished in the Services. By the late 1940s, Cannock was using pitches at Chasetown as well as Cannock Park. The Club also had bases at the White Hart Inn in Wolverhampton Road. With Tom and Joe Smart at Rugeley Grammar School providing a never ending supply of schoolboys, the club expanded to running six teams by the late 50s
The club’s first major facility development took place in 1954 when land that had been bequeathed by Jack Morris, a stalwart of the 20s and 30s, was developed in rural surroundings in Hatherton Road. This was to be the base or the club for the next 30+ years.
With this base Cannock started to develop the number of teams fielded each week from two or three to six, and the playing strength started to command fixtures with the stronger clubs in the Midlands.
This decade also saw developments in administration and player strength with a balance or good young players and old heads.
The 1960s was a significant decade in a number of ways. Summer hockey started, Cannock won the County Tournament in 1968 and 1969, which led to a knock out Midlands Championships. The link with Rugeley Grammar School grew stronger and provided a regular influx of players who were to play significant roles in the club for the next 40 years. Let’s not forget that in 1965 League introduced, albeit on a percentage basis.
Cannock achieved recognition on a Divisional scale, winning the Midland Club Championship in 1972/73. The Club was Staffordshire County Champion six times and reached three Midland Finals.
With Rugeley Grammar School gone and its replacement school failing to produce sufficient potential players, Laurie Alcock was able to send players from Shelfield to make up for those lost from Rugeley. The acquisition and development of the Four Crosses site took place, with two excellent full size pitches that were among the best in the Midlands. The Morris Ground had been good but with the sloping, undersized pitches with poor quality grass, the move was opportune.
The Clubs reputation and, later, improving facilities attracted quality players including Peter Sharpe, Bob Purshouse, Tim Boreham Malcolm Wood, Phil Hubert, Bobby Harris, Mike Gilbert to name but a few.
With the schools producing fewer ready made players the club realised it had to produce its own and developed a youth policy with 1st team players such as Don Warrender, Alan Westwood, Geoff Thomas and Ken Bedford setting up a “nursery” team.
A truly significant decade, with lots of developments. Cannock was becoming recognised as one of the strongest, if not the strongest club in the Midlands. Paul Singh joined and was instrumental in re-structuring the 1st XI from the outmoded captain led team to a coach/manager control. Firstly Peter Sharpe became involved in 1985 and was in charge of the team which narrowly lost to Southgate in the 1986 HA Cup Semi-final.
Malcolm Wood was invited to become involved with the 1st team training in 1987/88 and in 1988/89 became coach with Paul Singh as manager.
Qualification for the National League followed, by coming 5th in the Midland League, just scraping in. That was VITAL for without that 5th position Cannock may never have become a National League club and our best players may have gone elsewhere.
By being a National League club, Cannock immediately attracted players. The first major development for 25 years took place in 1987 when the synthetic turf pitch was developed at Four Crosses, under the leadership of Ken Bedford. This brought together the whole club who worked tirelessly to complete the many laborious tasks. The timing proved most opportune in that 1987/88 saw the inception of the National Hockey League and Cannock succeeded by narrowest of margins to gain fifth and final place from the Midlands in the 2nd Division. The new pitch was instrumental in providing the facility platform that saw the 1st XI not only win the 2nd Division League Cup but more importantly gain promotion to the 1st Division.
1988 saw the inaugural season of National League. First Cannock player, Chris Mayer, gains full England and GB caps.
The next major facility development saw the sale of the old Morris Ground and the money invested in a further 20 acres of land, a second synthetic pitch and a magnificent new pavilion.
During the mid 1990s Cannock applied to be one of the nine Regional Hockey Academies and the club was recognised as being the Satellite Centre to Birmingham. This meant that Cannock was recognised as an elite training and coaching centre and this attracted talented players to the Cannock Club.
Phil Gooderham took over leadership of the Youth Academy in 1995 and in 1996 the Club became National Champions for the first time.
Cannock was also represented by two players at the Atlanta Olympics.
In 1998 the Club won the National Championship, EHA Cup double and became U16 National Indoor Champions. The following year saw the Club become National Champions and EHA Cup finalists. Cannock submitted successful Lottery application in June, with the submission agreed and application approved in the remarkable timescale of some 13 weeks. Construction started in September.
2000 saw the construction of a new water-based pitch constructed to the new FIH Global Format (the first in the World) - a superb facility. In this year, Cannock also hosted the Millennium European Cup and was represented by three players at the Sydney Olympics. Cannock became National Champions for the third successive year. What followed was a string of successes and achievements:
2001-2 - EHA Cup winners, Cannock hosts Women’s World Cup Qualifier, India v USA
2002-3 - National Champions, U-15 National Champions, U-16 National Indoor Champions
2003-4 - National Champions. Silver Medal, European Cup Winners Cup. U16 National Indoor Champions. U11 National Mini Champions. Club hosts Pre-Olympic Tournament, GB, Australia, and Pakistan. Cannock represented by three players at Athens Olympics.
2004-5 - National Champions. EH Cup winners. EH Super Cup Winners. Silver Medal, European Cup Winners Cup. U-16 National Indoor 3rd place. Cannock Hockey Club celebrates its Centenary
2005-6 - National Champions. Host Euro Club Champions Cup. Host EH Super Cup. Host England v Ireland International. Host England v Germany & Netherlands Internationals.
2006-7 - EH Cup winners. Runners-up in League. Silver Medallists at Euro Club Cup Winners Championships.
2007-8 - The first TigerTurf Wett System pitch (in the world!) laid to replace existing water based facility, compete in inaugural European Hockey League competition, James Fair selected as non-playing reserve for Beijing Olympics
2008 - Second TigerTurf Wett System pitch laid to make Cannock one of the few double water based clubs in the country.
2010 - U16s National Runners Up. U18s National Champions