Men's 1st XI
Chelmsford Men’s Hockey Club was consistently one of the top clubs in Essex and East Anglia throughout its history. East League Champions and Essex Cup winners on numerous occasions, the Club also were Essex Indoor League Champions at one stage.
Since the Centenary year and the amalgamation of the two clubs in 1998, the Men’s 1st XI has taken that record to the highest level, now as one of the top 10 teams in the country. This has been achieved through a policy of nurturing talent from within the Club, coupled with a judicious blend of more experienced and outstanding players from outside the Club, especially from overseas.
First promoted to the National League in 1991, life was a struggle for Chelmsford despite, or perhaps eventually because of a rapid influx of senior players. While their capabilities and experience were not in doubt, the majority of their playing careers were behind them and this left little time for younger players to be groomed to follow in their footsteps.
Relegated to the East League, a decision was then made to reinforce the development of young talent, leading to a period of consolidation and a steady climb back to the upper levels of regional hockey. Promoted once more to the EHL in 1997, a further period of consolidation was the platform for promotion to EHL Division 1 in 1999, following a restructuring of the National League.
By this stage, the heavy investment in the Club’s youth policy was beginning to show dividends and, with the addition of outstanding talent from outside the Club (and especially an influx of international players from South Africa), the first challenge for Premier Division status took place in 2001. Not gaining automatic promotion, a finely balanced play-off saw Chelmsford denied promotion by the slimmest of margins.
With a taste of what might have been, renewed efforts and the continued progress of ‘home-grown’ talent has led to a plethora of young players in the Chelmsford squad, with many more pressing from below. This progression is encouraged by members of the 1st XI, who regularly help with the Youth Section Coaching and lend a hand with the lower XI’s, as and when required.
Supplemented by outstanding coaching and a properly organised and inspirational management team, Chelmsford Men achieved promotion to the EHL Premier League in 2004, having already reached the last eight of the EHA Cup, beaten by only the third in a succession of Premier Division opponents.
With the successful outcome of the 2005 campaign, where they finished a very creditable 6th, Chelmsford Men are a force to be reckoned with in national hockey, with many if not all of the right ingredients to ensure their presence at the highest levels of the game for many years to come.