Hockey in Okehampton has started a new era, writes Jane Jones.

The Okehampton Columbines Ladies Hockey Club was one of the first hockey clubs to be established after World War Two, and as such they celebrated their centenary in 2019.

After many years of successful hockey in the town with players representing the town at local, regional and international level, the club has thrived and last season fielded four ladies’ teams and junior teams at Under-10, Under-12 and Under-14 level.

The men’s club was established much more recently in 1991, and have successfully run two men’s sides with the first team currently playing at their highest-ever level in South Division 1, tier two of the England Hockey league.

With support from West officiating and Devon umpiring officials, the club has successfully promoted umpiring and now has a number of umpires taking national, regional and local level appointments.

At the respective AGM’s in May, the club memberships voted to merge the clubs to enable them to work more closely together to develop and promote hockey in the Okehampton area. It also makes the club one of the largest sports clubs in the town.

The club has plans to continue to develop hockey for all. Training sessions are underway on Tuesday evenings for the men and on Wednesday evenings for the ladies.

There will also be ‘pay and play’ sessions for those who want to get back into hockey or are unable to commit to Saturday hockey.

On September 16, junior hockey will restart for eight- to 14-year-olds, and there will also be ‘Hockey Heroes’ for the five- to eight-year-olds.

If you would like more information about the club, playing hockey or umpiring in the area, please contact Lesley Bingham at [email protected].