The oldest hockey club in the world
In the beginning, there was Teddington. In 1871, members of the Teddington cricket club, who had recently moved to play in Bushy Park, were looking for a winter activity. They experimented with a ‘stick’ game, based loosely on the rules of association football.
The TCC members rejected a game played by a Blackheath club that involved a 7oz (200g) rubber cube; catching, marking and scrimmaging; generally based on rugby football. The Teddington club chose to limit the number per side to eleven, and preferred to play with old cricket balls. They also introduced the idea of the striking circle (‘The D’), and they played several games in Bushy Park, in the winter of 1871.
In defining the rules this way, Teddington were the first to play the game that became modern hockey. Clubs were also set up in Richmond and Surbiton in 1874, and inter-club matches were played between them and Teddington. The game grew sporadically, as the clubs didn’t always agree on the rules!
In January 1886 at a dinner at the Holborn Restaurant in London, the Hockey Association that survives today was formed. Attending the dinner were Teddington, Surbiton, Wimbledon, Trinity College Cambridge, Molesey and Ealing.
Teddington has continued to be at the core of GB hockey ever since. Teddington are one of the original London League founders, established in 1969, and subsequently became part of the National League Premier Division, when it was first formed in 1988.
Teddington Men were National Premier League Champions in 1995 and have also won the England Hockey Cup in 1994 and 1996 and were losing cup finalists in 1193, 1993 and 1995.
The club has a long history of international and Olympic players, including the 1996 Olympians Jason Laslett and Calum Giles.
The Ladies’ teams were established over ten years ago, and have quickly become very successful.
Teddington also has one of the largest junior sections in the country with more than 350 young players, running teams from U8 through to U18. It was recently voted best junior club in the Home Counties.
Even though Teddington takes its league hockey seriously, there is plenty of ‘social’ hockey. Two mixed teams have been visiting Dublin for an annual mixed tour for many years, and this always proves to be a very successful and a drunken occasion!
Historical facts courtesy of Ken Howells, Teddington Museum Curator and author of ‘The Romance of Hockey’s History’.