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Hockey Festival returns after a nine-year break
AFTER a nine year absence Basingstoke Hockey Club will welcome 17 teams to its mixed hockey festival, which starts tomorrow and runs until Sunday.
As well as several local teams, a range of other social and club sides will be making an appearance including teams from Jersey, Herne Bay, Southampton, Winchester, Birmingham and Dutch touring side Sint Oedenrode.
Hockey Club chair Miranda Smith said: “It’s an ideal time for us to revive the festival, which was held in high esteem in the 10 years it ran to 2003.
“We’ve now had two seasons back in our clubhouse at Down Grange, which we initially refurbished in the summer of 2010, and since then upgrade works have continued as well as the resurfaced Astroturf pitch. We wanted 12 teams to make the festival viable, so we’re delighted at the response for this our first year back.”
The festival, the biggest event in Basingstoke and Deane’s Five Gold Rings summer programme, will also see Great Britain Hockey’s touring inflatable hockey pitch make the trip to Down Grange and host the new innovative Rush Hockey game as part of their Hockey Nation events during this Olympic year.
Rush Hockey is the new, flexible, small sided hockey game for adults and can played in mixed or single gender teams, indoors or outdoors and on pitches of varying surfaces and sizes.
Teams are five-a-side with squads of up to seven players. It is played with a standard hockey stick, but has unique goals and balls. The rules are very simple and the games are self umpired.
England Hockey’s Kirsty Brammer said: “We’re delighted that Basingstoke Hockey Club are hosting this taster session, which will give members from clubs all over the South Region and beyond a chance to experience this new game.
“We’re hoping, as well as it being a lot of fun, that it will inspire others to get more involved, or even set up their own leagues in their own area.”
The Rush Hockey will be there tomorrow from 1pm to 5pm, with the hockey starting on Saturday and running from 9am to 5pm and then on Sunday from 9.30am until midday.
Having viewed the new facilities at a celebratory opening event in May, Borough mayor Martin Biermann, will visit the venue on Sunday to present a series of awards to teams who have contributed to the spirit of the festival across the weekend after midday.
Event director Ruth Crawford said: “It’s also been a great opportunity for the club to start engaging more with local businesses. As well as receiving support from Fyffes, Boobydoo, NG Bailey and Pepsico, we’re delighted that local companies b more creative, Zizzi’s, Pizza Express, Mango Grove, Laarsens, Smith Plumbing, Gristwood Mills Clinic, Grapevine Telecomms, BH1 promotions and All Direct Cars have offered services and products.”
On site throughout the weekend in addition will be a team of physiotherapists led by Catherine Fagg from Tadley’s Fir Tree Clinic, providing welcome sports massages to the 300 people, who will no doubt be queuing for their services.
Tom Greenwood of fstop stills Sports Photography will be capturing whole the event for posterity, and The Stick Club will be providing hockey-related shopping opportunity for the participants.
Hockey Club chair Smith added: “We’re really hoping this will be the start once more of an event that will grow and develop in the years to come, raise the profile of our club in Basingstoke and beyond, and above all provide a lot of fun for our members in the off-season as it becomes re-embedded in a lot of people’s calendars.”
To find more information about Basingstoke Hockey Club and how to get involved visit: Basingstoke-hock¬ ey.com and about Basingstoke Mixed Hockey Festival 2012 at festival,Basingstoke-hockey.com