North Down Hockey Club


North Down Hockey Club
North Down Hockey Club
Address The Green,
Castle Lane,
Comber,
Co Down
Website www.northdownhc.co.uk
Email
Secretary 2006-2007 Jim Patterson
Sports Men's & Ladies Hockey
Branch Ulster Branch of the IHA
Ulster Women's Hockey Union
Founded 1896
Club Colours White & Navy

North Down Hockey Club is a field hockey club affiliated to the Ulster Branch of the Irish Hockey Association. The club was founded in 1896.

The men's section fields five adult teams, with the First Team competing in One Premier League of the Ulster Senior League. There are boys youth teams at under-12, under-13 and under-15 levels.

The ladies section field five adult teams, a veterans team and an under-14 youth team.

Contents

Grounds

North Down Hockey Club is based at The Green in Comber, home of North Down Cricket Club. The first hockey pitch was at the Castle Lane side of the ground on the cricket outfield. A celebration game against Cliftonville as part of the Centenary was played on this same pitch.

The next ten years saw the completion of two new Council shale pitches in Comber

In 1994 the decision was taken to play all first team games on the artificial turf pitch at Glenford Park, Newtownards. Later, the team returned to Comber and now play at Comber Leisure Centre.

Formation

The club was formed by members of North Down Cricket Club in 1896 and is one of the founder-members of the Ulster Hockey Union. The first reported Club match in Ulster was played in Comber against Cliftonville on 7 November 1896, with North Down winning 8-0.

In 1899-00 North Down won their first two trophies. In the only year when the Keightley Cup for the Ulster Senior League was played for on a knock-out basis, Antrim were defeated 3-2 in the final and in the Kirk Cup Final Cliftonville were beaten 4-2.[1]

1930s successes

During the 1930s North Down won the Ulster Senior League title five times in a six year period. The Kirk Cup was won twice in 1935-36 and 1936-37.

The 1935-36 Season was the zenith for North Down's achievements. JLO Andrews was elected President of the Ulster Branch, and James MacDonald was selected as Captain of Ireland for the first time. The Club responded to these off the field honours by winning the Kirk Cup and the Ulster Senior League and they were beaten finalists in the Irish Senior Cup Final in Dublin.[2][3][4]

Post war decline

When competitive fixtures after World War II, North Down won the Kirk Cup for the eighth and last time to date by beating Banbridge 3-1 after two periods of extra time.[5]

However the 1950s saw a gradual decline in playing standards and North Down lost their place in the top section of the Ulster Senior League at the end of the 1957-58 season.

Recent achievements

A renewed youth policy in the early 1990s saw a younger age profile for the first team. This change led to North Down regaining a place in the top section of the Ulster Senior League, after an interlude of 42 years. Two years in the top section ended when relegation was suffered after the 2000-01 season, when Section 1 was renamed as the Premier League and was reduced from ten teams to eight teams.

North Down briefly regained top flight status for one year in 2005-06, the season ending with relegation back to Senior League One. In 2008/09 season North Down won the first ever Irish hockey trophey and regained promotion back to the top flight of Ulster hockey.

Notable players

  • James MacDonald, played 25 times for Ireland including a period as captain.
  • Andrew Coates, in 2007/08 season he became the first player at the club in 52 years to represent Ulster at Senior Level.

Honours

  • Kirk Cup
    • 1899-00, 1901–02, 1920–21, 1928–29, 1935–36, 1936–37, 1943-44.
  • Irish Hockey Trophy
    • 2008-09

Ladies hockey section

In 1961 ladies joined the club to form their own teams. North Down ladies are affiliated to the Ulster Women's Hockey Union. The first team will play in Senior League 1 in the 2007-08 season.

Sources

  1. ^ Belfast Newsletter 23 April 1900 Page 3
  2. ^ Belfast Newsletter 14 April 1936 Page 3
  3. ^ Belfast Newsletter 13 April 1936 Page 4
  4. ^ Belfast Newsletter 23 March 1936 Page 4
  5. ^ Northern Whig 28 April 1944 Page 4

External links


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