Morpeth Hockey Club



Club History - Post War

Following the end of the war, a special meeting was held at The George & Dragon Hotel on the 17th January 1947, members present were:- M. McBryde, C.G. Mitchell, Geo Welch, G.Burn, H. McBryde, S.A. Dodds and Dr. Hugh Dickie Jnr.

After reading the minutes from the last AGM held in 1939, it was decided that the Hockey Club would approach the Cricket Club, to see if any of their gear could be unearthed. It was proposed by M. McBryde and seconded by Geo Welch that Morpeth Cricket Club should be approached to see if they would consider running Hockey as a winter sport, using their facilities.

It was also agreed that if the Cricket Club would not agree to hockey being played on their pitch, then the club would be permanently Disbanded. The club even went as far as arranging a Farewell Dinner for old members.

Obviously, this was not required and the Cricket Club agreed to their facilities been used. A General Meeting was held at The Earl Grey on the 19th September 1947 when the old Morpeth Hockey Club was handed over to Morpeth Cricket Club. The club would now be called Morpeth Hockey Club and all stationary to be headed " Morpeth Cricket, Hockey and Tennis Club" - Morpeth Hockey Club Section.

This amalgamation of Morpeth Cricket Club and Morpeth Hockey club was officially rubber stamped at a Special General Meeting at the Morpeth Cricket Field on the 14th February 1948. The Hockey members agreed to a membership fee of 10 shillings and a further 10 shillings for playing Hockey. The Hockey section would be allowed to have one representative on the club committee.

In 1948, the Hockey club played in Black Shirts, White Shorts and Claret and Blue Stockings, initially 15 shirts were purchased by the club. This strip didn't last long as in 1949 the Cricket Club insisted that the Hockey section adopted their club colours of Green & Gold, with the shirts to be quartered.

With their new facilities, the Hockey Club grew and by 1951 was fielding three teams. This was further helped in 1954 when the County Modern School started playing Hockey and some of their pupils joined the club.

As of now, money was always an issue and the Treasurer reported in 1955 that only 19 of 51 members had paid their subscriptions.

By 1957 the Hockey Club had reduced down to two teams and in 1959 the first Morpeth Tournament was held.

A club record was set in 1960, R. Cleworth scored 39 goals for the first team, and this is the highest individual tally in one season that is known of to date.

The weather in the North East has always had an effect on Hockey and it was no different in season 1962 to 63 when there were no matches played from December 22nd to the 22nd March. This resulted in 27 games being lost to the weather.

In 1963 Morpeth won their own tournament for the first and last Time!

By 1967, Morpeth re-started their 3rd team and this was quickly followed by a fourth team to be known as 3B. Morpeth Common was utilised to accommodate all the teams.

With no Morpeth Member in the County Hockey Team for the first time ever, the county had their most successful season.

A fifth team was started in 1971, which was to be known as 3C.

1972 was Morpeth's Silver Jubilee year and to celebrate a game against a County XI was arranged. Long-time member and stalwart of the club C.G. Mitchell presents a trophy to the club to be used for the Club Tournament.

A very sad year for the club when founder member C.G. Mitchell dies in July 1973. There was remarkable weather during the season and not one game was lost throughout the season.

Another death in 1974, "Old Bill who diligently cleaned the changing rooms and cared for all the Hockey Gear for countless years. Team 3C was disbanded.

Amazingly, league hockey was introduced in 1975.

By 1976, Morpeth abandoned their Quarter shirts, but followed protocol and kept Green & Gold as their Club Colours

National recognition followed in 1977 when Morpeth's Indoor team reached the national finals that were held in Maidenhead, Berkshire. Team 3A was renamed Morpeth Ranters and Team 3B was renamed Morpeth Commoners XI.

Morpeth 1st Team were relegated from the Hockey Senior League in 1978, but bounced back the following season.

In 1980, Morpeth wins Whitley Bay's six a-side tournament.

A double success in 1988 when both the 1sts and 2nds were promoted as Champions of their respective leagues. The Hockey club embarked on their first foreign tour. Their destination was Paris.

After their success's the previous season, Morpeth 1sts & 2nds have a disastrous season in 1989 as both sides are relegated. The first hint of a move away from Stobhill is recorded.

In 1990, Morpeth Hockey Club sign a Major Sponsorship deal with Coal Contractors to assist with funds.

During 1991, the favoured move away from Stobhill to a site in Hepscott is put in jeopardy due to wrangling between the builder and the landowner. A year later and the move to Hepscott is off and the club begins negotiations with NTEC over a move to Longhirst Hall.

The necessity for the club to relocate was highlighted in 1993 when the Hockey League rules state all games must be played on artificial surfaces only. This causes big problems for the club as they have to hire pitches in other area's of the county. Training was held firstly at Sunderland and then at the Lightfoot centre in Newcastle. By the end of the year the Club's move to Longhirst was agreed.

The club finally moved to Longhirst in 1994 ending a 46 year period at Stobhill. A Farewell to Stobhill game was arranged and held on 24/9/94. Current members played past members. The game was soured slightly by the news of the death of Jack Stokoe two weeks earlier. Jack Stokoe was a stalwart of the club, giving many years service. Club Colours award instigated this year.

The Club played its first games at Longhirst in 1995, with the move a fourth team was introduced into the league. The club embarked on two tours this year, one to Ipswich the other to Blackpool.

In 1998, Morpeth 2nds won their league as Champions, this was following being promoted in error and then demoted the previous season. The Indoor team won the league and a game against "Old Boys" takes place to celebrate the Club's Diamond Jubilee.

The fourth team was disbanded in 1999 due to a lack of players.

In 2005 saw the return of a pre-season tournament at Morpeth, two Scottish teams with some local sides competed over the August Bank Holiday.

During 2006, a small team of members from both the Ladies and Men's section, complete a rigorous application for a grant for a replacement astro-turf pitch. They are successful and win a grant of £140,000. It would be a year later before the pitch is relayed.

2007 saw a Vintage Squad(Over 50's) formed with the name of Morpeth Reivers. They decide to play in the original club colours of Claret & Blue.

On Thursday 8th of November 2007, Morpeth Hockey club are hit with the tragic news that their Ex Club Captain and long time member, Iain Cole had died following a motorcycle accident. Despite the league, offering Morpeth to cancel all their games that following weekend. Morpeth, with the blessing of Iain Cole's family decided to play. Iain was due to play for Morpeth 2nds, who went on to win 3-2 against North Shields. The match was attended by Iain's Parents.

Following an influx of players in 2009, Morpeth reinstated a fourth team in the Conference North

The club was awarded for a very successful season in 2010, Morpeth were awarded England Hockey's "Club of the Season" at their Annual Awards held in Nottingham. This was a Major accolade for the club. Morpeth 1sts were promoted as champions to Division One.