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Return of the John Orwell

2 years ago By Stuart Burnside

Cue light saber sound effects for every stick tackle

It gives us great delight to report that the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, and friend of the club, John Biggs, will reopen the John Orwell Centre pitch this coming Wednesday 13 January.

Commencing that evening, we will be running mixed training there for M8-X & L6-7 each Wednesday, with an 8pm meet for fitness before we head for on pitch work 8:30-10. The sessions will push the top players in those teams but will also have a beginner-friendly component for new joiners and an emphasis on fun, enjoyable hockey (as with back to hockey last summer). As in the summer, we will encourage participants to consider a refreshing isotonic beverage in our clubhouse, the Cape, afterwards. If you haven't been to the club before, this is the perfect session to come say hi!

This change means the ladies no longer have the unpopular Thursday session (something about beverages they say) and moving the men will allow our mid-section (M4-7) much more pitch space for their action at Lee Valley (timings unchanged). Mixing it up across teams & genders will allow us to know we will have the critical mass of players for position-specific coaching as needed, and for more technical work like short corner defence, or goalkeeping. However, most of the time, it means players will rotate through coaching stations so we are as efficient in our use of time & pitch space as possible, whilst keeping similar standard players together where this is more appropriate to the relevant drill. In the completely unheard of scenario where the lower ladies are disciplined and come to training and fewer men do, this also means we aren't penned in to half a pitch respectively.

Also, from this Saturday 16 January that means we will have some of our home games at the John Orwell. That should help the social side of hockey Saturdays as will naturally increase footfall at the Cape, but as an extra incentive, we will be using a percentage of this Sat's takings to reduce the February match fees for all teams sending a minimum six players to the Cape on Sat. So it's the perfect excuse to come back from away games & Lee Valley to be sociable too!

Finally, this long awaited news means we will imminently be launching a youth satellite club, Wapping Kidds, aimed at primary school age children. We expect the Kidds will train at the John Orwell first thing on a Sat morning, which will make it easier for our players to coach them & also mean their families can watch some hockey afterwards from the spectator stand. Covered seating of course will make it an awful lot nicer to watch your little one on pitch in the morning too (that said, if you want to come on pitch and help, let us know)! We will also soon launch a satellite club more tailored to people with disabilities, Wapping Flyerz. When you go to the John Orwell, you'll see we now have step free access to the pitch & space in the new spectator stand for wheelchairs - two of our top priority requests when planning the refurbishment. We believe hockey is something everyone can enjoy and this refurbishment will help us provide that. With a national league grade set up at the John Orwell now combined with our use of the two international water base pitches at Lee Valley, we believe we may well be justified in saying we now have some of the best facilities in the country. Add that to one of the best social scenes & you've got quite the hockey club!

To get involved, please contact our membership secretary on
Make sure you check out our Facebook &Twitter too!

Updated 15:45 - 3 Feb 2016 by Stuart Burnside

Where next?

Wapping Kidds HC joins the hockey family! Following completion of phase 3 of a £650K investment programme, the first inner London hockey club for primary school age children launches!
Umpiring Day a Wapping success Fantastic support from EHUA in coaching 20 umpires!


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