Saffron Walden Hockey Club dreaming big as they look to continue their growth
- Credit: SWHC
There are big plans afoot at Saffron Walden Hockey Club as they aim to put themselves at the forefront of the sport in the region.
The hope is they will become an academy talent centre for the east of England and efforts are already under way to get the application right.
Planning permission has been granted for a new pitch at their Joyce Frankland Academy base in Newport meaning they wouldn't have to split their resources between there and Saffron Walden County High School.
And the growing club, who offer hockey for all standards with eight men's sides and five ladies as well as a thriving junior section that currently stands at 350 , are also looking at redesigning the interior of their clubhouse to create a larger communal space
New pitch will mean increased training increase of junior intake as we have more space we currently have 350 juniors with a waiting list for nearly all age groups.
A spokesman for the club said: "There has been a lot of work put in by lots of volunteers over the years and while we used to have a problem with players returning from university and joining higher league clubs like Cambridge City or Bishop's Stortford, we don't any more.
"However, we realise that the club is nothing without all of our teams. It is after all an amateur game and should simply be fun. Sport should be for all and this is exactly what we aspire to achieve."
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On the field they have also finally managed to get some hockey played between the government's restriction and the Christmas break.
And it was a good day for the men's first team who beat Old Southendians 2-1 in the East League Premier A division.
The squad was packed with players who had come through the club's junior ranks and although the visitors started strongly, goalkeeper Matt Patmore kept them at bay, even saving a penalty flick.
A change in formation in the second half negated the visitors' threat and goals from George Pitfield and Guy Flynn put them in the driving seat.
Southend did pull one back with 10 minutes to go but with Alex Newitt, Spencer Hill and Will Stock leading the way, Walden claimed the victory.
They now sit seventh in the table after seven games.