IT was a mixed weekend for Ben Rhydding Hockey Club.

The women had another long journey - this time to Leicester. However, it was the visitors who were quick off the block with a penalty corner goal for Rachel Doherty in the first minute.

Some hard fought hockey then ensued as Rhydding held on to their lead - eventually putting the game to bed with a second goal courtesy of Rebecca Birch with just a few minutes to go. With this 2-0 win the women play their final game of the season at home to Buckingham on Saturday at 2pm.

As for the men's team, despite goals from Ben Pickles, Will Musgrave and Ross McMillan, Doncaster ended up on the winning side of a ten goal thriller on Sunday with the score finishing 7-3 to the hosts.

As they go into the final game of the season (home to Sheffield on Sunday at 2pm), outgoing Men's Coach, David Birch, has reflected on a successful season in charge.


Entering the 2023-24 season was a bit of the unknown for Ben Rhydding Men's First Team, seeing Demy Dowley step down from being Head Coach after 15 years in charge. David Birch, previously assistant coach, was appointed with continued support from manager, Warwick Smither and captain Rob Ramsden .

The season as a whole was full of ups and downs. A lengthy and productive pre-season got the squad in an excellent position, and after the frustration of the loss on the first day of the season, this only fuelled the group's motivation going on to 3 consecutive wins against Brooklands, Belper and Beeston.

Thankfully Rhydding were competing at the right end of the table early on and were able to enjoy pushing themselves against the top teams, where they discovered games defined by fine margins. This has been good learning for the group and something to work on for the 2024-25 season. A fitness driven Christmas break and indoor season, led by Dave McCollum, saw the squad start 2024 on the right note by making amends from the first game of the season, beating Wakefield under the lights 2-0 in front of an excellent crowd.

The season progressed, the league started to take shape, early confirmation of safety meant that Rhydding were able to try a few new tactics out in the last third of the season. With back to back seasons in the National League for the men's first team, the group have worked immensely hard and will certainly be looking to push on even further next season.

It has been excellent to see another England Age Group player come through the junior system in Ben Pickles. Along with 2 juniors making their first team and National League debuts; Archie Normington and Sam Dixon. More recently Will Musgrave celebrated scoring his 100th National League hockey goal, a truly remarkable achievement which not many go onto achieve.

Sadly, we do part ways with Head Coach, David Birch, as he moves to Newcastle to become Head of Hockey at RGS Newcastle, we thank him for all his services. The club wish him well.

The cub are also grateful to all sponsors and supporters as they go into to the last match of the season at home to Sheffield - 2pm on Sunday.