As the new hockey season starts, Cranleigh Ladies are celebrating 40 years of competitive ladies hockey in the Surrey leagues. This is quite an amazing feat as many ladies hockey clubs struggle to survive on their own and the majority of clubs in the country today are combined men and women. There are only five ladies-only clubs left in Surrey today.
Today, CLHC have 2 teams playing competitive hockey in Surrey Leagues 6 & 11 and the anniversary season kicked off to a great start with both teams winning convincingly against Spencer and Epsom Ladies.
The club started in 1976 when Cranleigh had recently built many new houses and a group of ladies, many of whom had moved into the area, decided they would try to get a hockey team together. The first meeting took place in the St John’s Ambulance Room (tempting fate !) behind Rawling’s butchers in the High Street. From the very start, there were enough ladies to make 2 teams and the local council provided a grass pitch at Snoxhall playing fields. The Snoxhall Sports Club was officially opened in 1982. The only problem was that all the changing rooms were taken over by the men’s football, but undeterred, the ladies brought in an old caravan which served as their changing room for many years !
Cranleigh Ladies were (and still are) mainly interested in playing competitive hockey, but in a friendly and fun atmosphere. During the 1980’s CLHC organised an annual hockey festival for mens, ladies and mixed teams and teams would visit from as far as the Isle of Wight. There were tours to Holland and many a crazy social event took place in the Snoxhall pavilion.
But not only did Cranleigh hockey Ladies know how to party, in 1988 the first team were crowned Surrey League Champions after beating Surrey University in the final match.
In the same year Cranleigh School laid their first Astroturf pitch, one of very few Astros at that time in Surrey. Not long afterwards, Cranleigh Ladies moved their home to be based at Cranleigh School where we still play today with training every Wednesday 19.30 – 20.30 and home games on Saturday mornings.
To celebrate our 40 years anniversary we are pleased to invite all players, officials and families to our 40 year party at Cranleigh Golf & Leisure Club on Saturday 15 October 20.00hrs. In true Cranleigh Ladies spirit, there will be lots of merriment and we always welcome new players to join us for the next 40 years.