Restructuring of the Ladies Section

Dear Club Member,

Late on Monday night, I had the unfortunate responsibility of emailing the East League to request permission to withdraw the Ladies 1’s from the league. This was a decision reached by the Committee after considerable thought, countless calls, meetings and discussions with key stakeholders in the decision. Our request has been approved.

In the 17/18 season our Ladies 1’s were in Division 1. Despite investing in a Commonwealth medalist coach they were relegated and we consequently lost several players. In 18/19 they were again relegated and now, facing a season in Division 3NW we have lost a considerable number of our senior squad.

Last season we had 67 ladies that were available for selection. Every week we estimate about 25% of these players were not available for various short term reasons so we struggled week on week to field all 4 ladies teams. As of today, we expect approximately 50 players to be available for selection this season. We have lost 26 players across the board over 2 seasons and of these, 17 were L1 players.

Under these very extreme circumstances, our preferred choice was to withdraw the L1’s team from Division 3NW, adding the remaining players to the L2 squad and so building the latter while pushing them for promotion this season. This approach will also allow a mixture of experience and youth to blend and develop together this year, establishing our new L1 team for the 20/21 season.

The alternative, of staying in Division 3NW and withdrawing our L4’s instead, held no attraction to the Committee as we fear it would do more damage to the Club. We would be asking junior players in the Club to play at levels way beyond their experience which we felt would not be beneficial to them and would likely lead to players either flatly refusing to play at that level and/or leaving the Club.

Since becoming Chair in May of this year, we have been developing plans to grow the Club’s membership at both Senior and Junior level. I have been involved in meetings with the local Town Council (and by proxy with the District Council) to discuss the future of the Club and the options we may have to improve our facilities and build the foundations upon which we can successfully grow. The Committee is working very hard with ambitions to make Newmarket one of the most sought after hockey clubs in the region. This makes our current situation a particularly bitter pill to swallow. But swallow it we must and we believe that consolidating the Ladies section at this time it the most appropriate course of action and from there we can build again.

I’m sure during this period of transition the Ladies teams would welcome your support. If you can make it to the games to cheer them on and encourage from the sidelines please do so. The L3’s are at home on Saturday with a 12:00 start if you can make that game.

Thank you for your continued support,

Peter Booth