Club History - Pre War

Morpeth Hockey Club



During the summer of 1922, a group of individuals interested in playing Hockey, met in a room above Dance & Carr's Café in Morpeth Market place. Among those present were: - G.D. Smith, Ted Cook, Ted Soulsby, Nelson Swinney, O.M. Mcbryde and C.G. Mitchell.

From this initial meeting it was decided to form a Hockey Club and G.D. Smith agreed to act as its secretary. O.M. Mcbryde agreed to provide a pitch at Pegswood Moor Farm, a piece of land on the Longhirst Road, opposite Pegswood Road Ends (There is now a roundabout here).

The club's first season started in September 1922 and prior to the games commencing the members would cut the grass using hay knives, measured the pitch and dug out the lines. The gear, goals etc. were kept in a wooden chest or shed by the side of the road leading to the farm. They were carried to the pitch prior to the games.

There were no league games and fixtures were arranged with clubs from within the local county. There was only five or six clubs in existence at this time. Travelling to away games was difficult; usually the majority travelled by train, twelve tickets could be purchased at a cheap rate. G.D. Smith would scour the Morpeth Train Station Platform to try and sell off any spare tickets.

For visiting teams, this meant a walk from Morpeth Train Station to Pegswood.

The members of the club had little experience of playing hockey and no real coaching was available, but practise and these games gradually brought some knowledge. The pitch the games were played on did not lend itself to skilful play.

The club grew and a number of people who had previous experience of playing hockey joined the club, so much so that it was necessary to run two teams. Other clubs in the area at this time included Novocastarians, St. Georges, North Durham, South Shields, Tynedale, Medicals, Armstrong College and Wallsend also had a team for a while.

There were no facilities for any visiting teams, so arrangements were made with a local hotel to provide changing rooms and after Match Tea's. The Morpeth players who travelled from the outlying areas used these facilities also.

During the 1920's "The Newcastle House", now "The Waterford", was used and afterwards the club hired rooms in "The Earl Grey" in Morpeth Market Place.

In 1929 the club decided to retain the Club Colours of Maroon and Blue halved shirts, white shorts and club stockings. Currently, Morpeth Reivers (Over 50's) have adopted these colours. 1929 also saw the death of one of the original founders of the club, G.D.Smith. The treasurer at the time reported a balance of £6, which was considered to be satisfactory.

The 1930 record book shows a playing record of Played 19, Won 7, Lost 9 and Drawn 3. H.B. Burn donated some "shooting boards" to the club for use the following season.

Dr. Hugh Dickie Snr, the President of the club and one of the co-founders of the club, unfortunately died in 1931. His family were to have a long history with the club.

In 1932, club records show that Mrs Clavering of The Earl Grey Hotel should be paid £1 for 'services rendered' and the maid to be paid ten shillings.

There are some things in Hockey that never changes, in 1933 the club committee is "desirous of every player on the field being more obedient to their Captain's instructions and Umpires decisions should be accepted in a spirit worthy of the best tradition of the sport.

The first knowledge of a social event was the mention of a club dance in 1935.

During 1936, the committee instructed the captains to endeavour to see that each member as far as possible plays regularly in only one position and at any time to be asked to occupy only one alternative position.

The first mention of the County Hockey Association came in 1937 when the club decided to pay the county fees, but to "write and point out that we felt we get very little for our money".

The Pre-War Season

At some point during the season, Morpeth Hockey Club began discussions with Morpeth Cricket Club regarding the possibility use of their ground for their home games. The discussion involved the Secretary and Treasurer approaching the Cricket Club and then reporting back to the Hockey Committee.

A special Annual General Meeting was held in The Earl Grey on 14th October 1938 when members were informed that the committee had rented the Morpeth Cricket Club field for the coming season. The tenancy was confirmed at £6 per year. The only stipulation from the Cricket Club was that the Hockey players should do their utmost not to spoil the cricket wicket.

The minutes of this meeting make the first reference to a "Ladies Hockey Club", M. McBryde stated that he would cut the field at Pegswood Moor Farm for the use of the Ladies Club and the committee was given permission to assist if necessary, in the purchasing of goal posts for the Ladies Club.

An Annual General Meeting was held in The Earl Grey on 19th July 1939 when it was stated that the coming season would begin on the 30th September.  In the event the season never started because of the outbreak of war and the club was suspended for the duration