A group of mums who a year ago decided to get off the sidelines and start their own hockey team have made it to the final of a national competition aimed at supporting women in sport following last year’s Olympic Games.
Teddington Ladies 5th team is made up of women who started playing hockey last year as part of the Elderflowers Back to Hockey group at Teddington Hockey Club. Now the women, mostly in their forties and fifties, have been shortlisted in the amateur team section of the Fair Game awards, a competition run by Stylist magazine. The winners will be decided by public vote, and the team are appealing for locals and fans to go online and vote for them here.
The competition is aimed at boosting the tiny amount of sponsorship that women’s sport receives in the UK compared with men’s – just 0.5%.
Many of the Elderflowers had never played hockey before and others had not played since school. Their experience of hockey was often limited to standing on the sidelines watching their children play the sport until one mum, Cathy Withycombe, had the idea of starting a team for the ladies. They kit themselves out by borrowing sticks and gear from their children. If they win the Fair Game competition, the team members will receive a year’s kit from Adidas.
Although they haven’t yet scored a goal in a league match, over 27 ladies have now taken a turn at playing for the side and they have all enjoyed their first taste of competitive hockey. They play in Middlesex Women’s League Division 2 and regularly take the maximum of 16 players to matches to allow as many people as possible to have a go. They have been encouraged by Teddington Hockey Club, which offers them the Ladies 1st XI coaches for their weekly training sessions.
One member, Kerry McLaughlin, wrote in the team’s competition entry: “There are women of all ages most of whom hadn’t played in 20 years or more and the main aims are to get fit, have fun and try and play some good hockey again. New people are still joining each week as the word spreads, and some of the members, including myself, are now actually playing in league games.”
If you’re interested in joining the Elderflowers at Teddington Hockey Club, even if you’re a complete beginner, go to the Ladies section of Teddington Club website for further details.
[Update] GB Women’s Hockey Team captain and Olympic bronze medallist Kate Walsh has joined the ranks of supporters of local mums’ hockey team, the Elderflowers/Teddington Ladies 5s by asking her followers on Twitter to vote for the team in the final of the Fair Game Awards. Other recent supporters include England Hockey, Teddington Town, Richmond & Twickenham Times and TW11 magazine.
Buoyed up by this tremendous support, the Ladies 5s scored their first goal of the season in their match last Saturday! Please continue to vote for them – you can vote once a day every day until 20 February – but make sure you close the window once you have clicked on the pink team and then complete your name and email address on the form, otherwise you haven’t voted at all! Link: