From the Director of Hockey
I have been lucky enough to be coaching at Dean Close for the last 23 years. We have managed to develop the Hockey from the Prep school through to the Senior School and compete with the top hockey schools in the country. We have won the National Girls Titles at U14, U16 and recently the U18 in 2013. We have many strong experienced coaches and staff at the school who enhance our strong Hockey program.
Whole School Hockey Coach – Ben MacKay
Hockey was brought to Dean Close School at the beginning of 1907 by the Revd C.C. Mountfort – a former Captain of Cambridge University Hockey Team. By 1910 the School had its first blue for hockey, H.O. Cooper of Cambridge.
Before the First World War, hockey was played on the ‘Humpty Dumpty’ pitch and the Big Field. However, during the Great War the Humpty Dumpty pitch became out of bounds since it was used for growing vegetables. At this time, boys around the age of 17, or sometimes even younger, were enlisting which meant that the 1st XI had 14 and 15 year old boys playing.
In the early 1920s there was no coaching and junior pupils learnt how to play hockey by watching the seniors and simply copying them. Stanley Hoare was in 1st XI for four seasons of which he captained three. He left in 1922 and went on to captain both Cambridge University and England (1928-1937). In 1926 he returned to Dean Close as a Master and together with C.A.P. Tuckwell, coached the top team for 20 years.
By the early 1930s the quality of hockey had increased significantly and Marlborough College (at that time, one of the best hockey schools) requested a fixture which was played at Dean Close in March 1933; Marlborough won 10-4. However, the following year Dean Close triumphed 2-1 away.
In 1956, Hoare managed the Melbourne Olympic GB Hockey Team with his Dean Close colleague, Denys Carnill, as captain. Carnill’s influence would see the first Redgra pitch built in 1961, the first in any public school in the country. In 1960, Dean Close and Cheltenham College sent a combined team to a hockey festival in The Hague, the beginning of what would become regular tours abroad.
Girls’ hockey developed slowly following their introduction in 1968. It wasn’t until 1981 that the girls’ 1st XI enjoyed a full fixture list. Of the 17 matches played, 12 were won. This was the beginning of great things to come. Four years later the team enjoyed a first win of the U18 Gloucestershire Championships. Success has continued, in 2006 the girls’ U14, U16 and U18 teams were county champions. Not to be outshone, the boys’ 1st XI were crowned U18 National Hockey Champions in 2009, an incredible achievement.
Such success is testament to the coaching skills of those such as E.S. Hoare, C.A.P. Tuckwell, Denys Carnill and more recently John Nash, Richard Padfield, Welsh International Trevor Snow, Alastair Reid, John Watson, Rod Pellereau, Hilary Swan, and currently Gary Tredgett OD, himself a former indoors international and Liam Brignull OD, Welsh International.