COLLEGIANS WOMENS HOCKEY CLUB 1896 1989
The first incarnation of Collegians Ladies' Hockey Club was in 1896, when it shared a ground with the Rugby Club.
THe club played under the name of Collegians until around 1906 and then played for many years on a non competitive basis under the name of Methodist College Old Girls.
"The Book of M. C. B." gives the names of the team of 1897 but little more is known of its ten year existence.As M.C.B.did not organize games for girls, at that time, the school team was, in effect,a McArthur Hall team, with the Collegians Ladies Club, being, in reality, a .McArthur Hall Old Girls' Club.
The present Collegians Womens' Hockey was founded in April 1944. The leadinglights behind this reincarnation were Dorothy Patterson, Sylvia Jardin, Olive Carter, Madeline Davis and Margaret White, the first secretary.
The inaugural President, Janet Addy (nee Smylie), was one of the school's first international' players. Enthusiastic help and encouragement were forthcoming from Old Boys,Charlie Neill and Cecil Smylie, who ensured there was a pitch to play on and changing facilities available at Deramore. Help also came from the Ulster Women's Hockey Union, in particular its secretary, Mrs H WTempleton.
Much hard work was undertaken during the summer of 1944 to locate potential members among the school-leavers of the previous fifteen years. By September the Club was able to field three teams. This effort proved to have been extremely worthwhile as the First XI were runners-up in their League and semi-finalists in both the Senior League Cup and the Ulster Shield.
The Second XI were also runners-up in their League and semi-finalists in the Junior Cup.
Those playing regularly on the First XI of 1944 - 45, under the captaincy ofMargaret White, were Jean Jeffers, Lilly Ervine, Noelle Cromey, May Cromey,Esme Abraham, Madeline Davis, Jessie Stewart, Dorothy Patterson, RosinaMacGregor, Phyllis Jackson. Madeline, Dorothy, Rosina and Mary Bell wereselected to play for Ulster during that first season with Dorothy becoming thefirst recorded member of Collegians W.H.C. to play for Ireland when she tookthe field against the Women's Services.
COLLEGIANS WOMENS HOCKEY CLUB
1ST XI 1946 - 47
However, this success masked a problem which has troubled the Club ever since playingarea. Between 1946 and 1950 the entire playing area at Deramore was levelled and re-drainedand the Womens' Hockey Club became homeless. During that period Jessie Stewart andNorma Lowry, in particular, worked hard at keeping alive a sense of togetherness and belonging.
30th September 1950 saw the reopening of the grounds by that great friend of the Womens' Hockey Club, Charlie Neill. The First XI joined in the day's celebrations by playing Instonians.The Collegians team was Margaret Gribben, Captain, Margaret White, Betty Browne, Nan Algie,Marjorie Hill, Esme Abraham, Rosina MacGregor, Helen Reid, Dorothy Patterson, and Pat Lavertywith the number of teams rising first to five and then to six. In 1954-55 the Third XI won SectionThree of the Junior League. The leading player of this time was Daphne Ferguson, a regular member of both the Ulster and Irish teams from 1948 to 1959.
Alas the pitches at Deramore began to deteriorate and their use had to berestricted. The Womens' Hockey Club found themselves homeless once more. Theaffect on numbers playing was the same as previously they declineddramatically. It was left to Aileen L'Amie and Sally Jamieson, with a smallband of helpers, to attempt to halt this decline. A partial solution wasreached in 1966, when the school came to the rescue and allowed Collegians the use of Pirrie Park.In 1967-68 the Second XI shared the Intermediate League with Carrickfergus butthe fifties and sixties were decades of social hockey. The players travelledto the matches by bus or train, played the game and had tea and sandwichesafterwards. They did not meet again until the following Saturday when thewhole process began again.
A discussion between Ruth Watters, and Deirdre Humphries in the spring of 1970resulted in the "birth" of the Collegians W.H.C. annual tournament. This wasat a time when the only tournaments which existed were representative ones,with the emphasis on winning. The Collegians tournament was to be aget-together before the season started - a friendly tournament. It followedthis format for a number of years, not being taken too seriously by organizersor entrants, but not to be missed either. One notable occasion occurred in theseventies when the weather was atrocious and the tournament was cancelledexcept that Collegians forgot to tell the entrants! By all accounts everyoneelse had a great time.
A permanent trophy was presented in 1982 by Dorothy Grimshaw (nee Patterson)and the tournament has become slightly more serious, certainly from anorganizational point of view. It has undergone a number of changes in formatin its two decades and now has competition from other beginning of seasontournaments. However, the rationale remains the same - a chance to catch upwith other players, to renew friendships and rivalries without the pressure ofLeague competition.
Festival of Sport
Collegians Vs Mrs D Grimshaws XI - August 26th 1972
First XI Success - At Last1972 saw the First XI winning a trophy for the first time when they won theSenior Plate, defeating Queens in the final. The team on that day, captainedby Hilary Johnston, was Helen Roulston, Margaret Cassidy, Jennifer McGill,Hazel Robinson, Genevieve Adams , Pam Trohear, Florence Livingstone, KathyMoreland, Liz Lewis and Carol McRoberts. By this time the Womens' Hockey Club,in an attempt to encourage members, was allowed to include players who had' notattended Methodist College or qualified in any other way for membership. Threeother members of the team fell into this category, apart from the captain, Hilary- Pam, Liz and Margaret.
The real renaissance of Collegians Womens t Hockey Club began in 1978 with theprovision of pitches at Deramore. This enabled the hockey players to feel partof the Collegians Club, providing them not only with an excellent playingsurface but also with changing rooms and social facilities the envy of many.To celebrate this a Collegians Sect XI played an Ulster Club Invitation XI.The Club team was Ruth Watters, Lesley Spence, Paddy Sloan, Lynda Fisher, KateKerr, Gerry Gray, Pam Trohear, Heather Donaghy, Jackie Morrow, Hazel Robinsonand Helen Montgomery; and the opposition, captained by Jennifer Givan, wasVivian Mitchell, Alison Herron, Moya Gibson, May Dalzell, Margaret Gleghorn,Cherry Seaton, Sandra Beggs, Christine Fisher, Christine Shields and BrendaEngoulsden.
The only trophy to come to Collegians W.H.C. in the early 1980's was the JuniorPlate, won by the Third XI, captained by Sharon McManus.
The return to Deramore may have been the end of a long road but for somemembers of the Women's Hockey Club it was only a beginning. The pitch wasexcellent but only available during daylight. A campaign, led by Paddy Sloanand Ruth McIlroy, was begun to have floodlights installed to enable not onlyoutdoor training but also as a source of extra income through rental of thepitch to other clubs. This was a long hard struggle and many discussions wereheld, seemingly centring around telegraph poles. However, the lights finallyappeared in 1984 and have been a great boon to Monday night training sessionsever since.
Alas the First XI remained in the doldrums, winning no trophies and havinglittle success in the Senior League. The shake-up of the League set-up and theintroduction of promotion and relegation provided a challenge for the Club.For the first few years the First XI remained in Senior Hockey by the skin oftheir teeth, seemingly unable to respond to the gauntlet at their feet.
1987-88, however, was the most successful season the Club has had in its his tory . The First XI squad, captained by Roisin Walsh, not only won theSenior Plate for the third time, (the second being in 1976-77) but also Section Two of the Senior League, in the process, gaining promotion to Senior One.Expansion of numbers allowed the Club to field four teams, each one gainingpromotion during the season.
It may well be wondered what had made the difference. The Club Coach, BrianCaruth, denied doing anything different from the two previous seasons in whichhe had coached the Club, but the answer may well lie not just in the increase of open places to twelve but in the quality of applicants to fill them.
The 1988-89 season was looked forward to with great anticipation with thepriority for each team being consolidation. The First XI eventually succeededin this, by taking a point off Portadown in their penultimate game to earn aplay-off against Knock. The Second XI, captained by Jennifer McKeown (neeMcGill), won Section Three of the Qualifying League, The Third XI, under theleadership of Paula Creighton, won the Intermediate Plate. The Fourth XIachieved their aim at the beginning of the season and remained in the JuniorLeague
There have always been strong connections between M.C.B. and C.W.H.C. The Clubcould never have fielded a full complement each Saturday without the help ofschoolgirls,but they are not there to make up the numbers they are playing on merit. One has only tolook at a list of Club First XI players over the lastfew years to realize that Jennifer Gordon,Kathy Dunlop, Karen McRoberts and Elizabeth Anne Perry were also School First XICaptains at the same time.These contacts are re-established each year with matches betweenClub First and Second XIs and their School counterparts at the beginning and end of eachseason .Another innovation in recent years has been the annual Boxing Day game againstthe Exiles. This is not the most serious match of the season, with the highlight beingpunch and mince pies at half time. However, it enables the Club to keep up with thoseplayers who have gone across the water to study or work or others who "retired" prematurely and results in much reminiscing.The appearance of a Coach came late to Collegians W.H C. Coaching was alwayspart of the duties of the First XI captain and, until the installation of floodlights,a separate person was not deemed necessary. However, the holders of the posthave been notable - Daphne Gilpin and Ian Steepe, both Coaches to the I.L.H.U. international team; Ruth Watters, Coach of the Senior Ulster interprovincial side;Colin Burns, coach to U.H.U . the Schoolboy team . Two other names spring to mind,neither of whom have (yet!) coached at these exalted levels, but both have a specialniche in our history - Kevin Doherty and Brian Caruth. The former produced probablythe fittest Collegians' hockey players ever and the latter the most successful.
Although not the most successful women's hockey club in Ulster Collegians hasprovided a number of internationals and interprovincials, at both Senior andIntermediate levels. The Irish players include Heather Coulter, DorothyPatterson, Daphne Ferguson, Carol McRoberts, Hilary Johnston, and MargaretGleghorne, who has also represented Great Britain. Other internationalrepresentation includes Gerda Priestly, Spain and Anne Millar, Bermuda.Senior interprovincials include Dorothy Patterson, Heather Coulter, DaphneFerguson, Carol McRoberts, Hilary Johnston, Margaret Gleghorne, Madeline Davis,Margaret Girvan, Mary Bell, Rosina McGregor, Aileen L'Amie, Ruth Watters, andHazel Robinson, with Claire McDowell currently a squad member.
Intermediate Interprovincials include Margaret Todd, Frona Senior Pam Trohear,Roma Beggs, Alison Watt, Vicki Topping, Claire McDowell, Sonia Tester and KimBothwell.
Senior Pam Trohear, Roma Beggs, Alison Watt , Vicki Topping, Claire McDowell,Sonia Tester and Kim Bothwell.
Margaret White is the only Collegian - to have reached the pinnacle ofadministration by being Ulster and Irish President but other club members haveserved Ulster hockey in various adminis trative capacities. Mrs S. Hayes wasSenior Vice President in 1954-55. Olive Williams and Anne Millar were bothTreasurers of the U.W.H.U. Olive for 15 years from 1955 to 1970; and Annebetween 1985 and 1988. Dorothy Grimshaw was School's Vice President from 1960to 1973. Gerry Gray served on the Council between 1974 and 1977 and wasSchool's Secretary between 1977 and 1980. Daphne Gilpin was Chairman of theCoaching Association from 1980 to 1984. Jennifer McKeown, Ruth Watters, Mrs D.Erwin, Hazel Robinson and Lesley Spence have all served on the U.W. H. U.Council. Billy Savage (a Vice-President of the C.W. H. C. for his umpiringservices), Lesley Spence and Mrs Hayes have all been secretary of the Umpires'Association of the U.W.H.U.
Olive Williams served as a Senior selector between 1954 and 1959. Gerry Graywas a Junior Selector from 1976 to 1982. Dorothy Grimshaw, Gerry Gray,Jennifer McKeown and Hazel Robinson have also been School selectors.
The contribution by Collegians to hockey administration received officialrecognition when the U.W.H.U. included Dorothy Patter-son, Olive Williams andDaphne Gilpin among the first recipients of Honorary Life Memberships.
No history of Collegians W.H.C. would be complete without mention of someonewho has never played for it - Margaret Cranston. A Past President of the Club,Margaret has been an ever-present figure at the side of the pitch, in heryellow coat and wellies. She supports all teams, not just the First XI and inthe dark days, when results were poor, she always had words of encouragementand hope. Now, at last she can smile and enjoy the success, because its hersas much as the players.
LESLEY A. M. SPENCEPRESIDENT C.W.H.C.
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Collegians ClubFormerly - Deramore Park, Belfast,County Antrim, Northern IrelandE: email@example.com