PENARTH Hockey Club embraced award season at its annual celebration dinner, but not before receiving two nominations for recognition by the sport’s governing body in Wales.
Just days before players past and present gathered at Penarth Athletic Club to look back on another successful season for the resurgent organisation, PHC was surprised to learn that it had been short-listed for not one but two categories ahead of Hockey Wales’ own awards night.
Penarth Hockey Club’s journey over the past couple of years has seen an expansion back to four sides, all playing in league competition, as well as five promotions and three cup final appearances.
The club’s youth section has shown signs of returning to previous strengths, with appearances in national finals, as well as a south Wales title for the Under-11 side, while the veterans’ team continues to roll out an impressive fixture list each summer.
As a result of these achievements – which will be capped by a maiden appearance in the EuroHockey Club Challenge early next month – Hockey Wales has included PHC amongst the nominees for Club of the Year and its 1st XI for Team of the Year.
The winners will be revealed at then governing body’s Hockey Family Celebration Evening at Cardiff City Stadium shortly after the club returns from the Ukraine.
With further accolades a possibility, the club’s own celebration dinner proved another roaring success, filling Penarth Athletic Club to near capacity as it reflected proudly on the 2016-17 season.
Chris Baker again scooped a couple of awards, taking home both the Top Goalscorer and 1st XI Player of the Year trophies after playing a key role in the side’s promotion, as champions, from Conference North. As a result, the Penarth club will begin the 2017-18 campaign just two steps from the UK national league, the highest level it has achieved in over 100 years of competition.
Phil Lane claimed the 2nd XI Player of the Year nomination, having also provided the goals that took the team to a second successive promotion, while all-rounder Paul ‘Freddy Thomas and rising star Rhys Meddins received the silverware as 3rd XI and 4th XI Player of the Year respectively.
Meddins’ team-mate in both the 4th XI and youth ranks, goalkeeper Luke Williams, maintained a proud tradition of shot-stoppers claiming the Young Player of the Year trophy, while 1st XI player-coach Ben Croxall got the nod as Clubman of the Year for the multi-faceted role he has played within the organisation in the two years since he became a member.
“This time last year we were celebrating a phenomenal season of success and wondering how we could top it, and we did!” chairman Nick Pratt declared proudly, “I have the great privilege to witness all the club's sides in action - from the U 11s up to the 1sts - and it has been fantastic, not only to witness the success, but the manner in which those successes have been achieved. The skills used by the 1st XI are already evident in our junior players, to the huge credit of the coaching team, and I’m delighted to see that the future of the club is very much assured.
“Moving forward, we will be setting ourselves even more challenging goals for the coming season - on and off the pitch - because it is only by doing so will we continue to move forward in our progress back to the pinnacle of Welsh hockey.”
The first ‘pressing goal’ comes in just a couple of weeks, as the Penarth club heads for Vinnitsa in the Ukraine to take on some of the best teams in Europe. Fundraising efforts for the trip continue apace, with a raffle and auction at the awards dinner boosting a ‘war chest’ kick-started by a crowd-funding page and a series of local events. Anyone wishing to sponsor the club on this momentous occasion is urged to contact Ben Croxall (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Penarth Hockey Club always welcomes new, old and returning players, umpires, supporters, friends and helpers regardless of age and ability. When the regular season resumes, training will take place on Wednesdays at Stanwell School, with the juniors on the pitch between 6.15pm and 7.15pm and the seniors between 7.00pm and 8.15pm.
Anyone interested in joining the club at senior or youth level can contact club secretary Dave Stevens (email@example.com) for further information.