history

 The St. Albans Story

On 3rd March 1998, St. Albans Hockey Club was one hundred years old. During that century, the club grew from a small band of gentlemen players to one of the largest and most successful mixed clubs in the country.

Over 20 teams now play under the St. Albans name: a living testament to the vision showed over 100 years ago.

Initially formed as the Herts County Hockey Club, under the Presidency of the Earl of Verulam, the club played its first match at Clarence Park against Finchley... and won 5-0, a victory which laid the first foundations for many years of success, both on and off the pitch.

Off the pitch in 1899, a sub-committee of the club was established to help form a Herts County Hockey Association. A year later in November 1900, with two elevens now competing locally, the club changed its name to St. Albans Hockey Club. In 1902 a third eleven was added.

A break in activities enforced by the First World War, was exacerbated by a shortage of players and the unavailability of Clarence Park. As a result, despite an Annual General Meeting taking place in 1919, matches could not resume until the 1921/2 season. By 1924/5, however, the Club had fully recovered and was once again fielding three elevens. Further growth followed and by 1939 a fourth eleven was formed.

A small group of devotees kept the club alive during the Second World War and in 1946/7 two sides were competing. The following season, when the Golden Jubilee match was played, a third side was re-instated. Remarkably, by the time of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1957-8, the club had grown to four teams.

Further expansion soon followed; a veteran's team was formed in 1978/9; new changing rooms and social facilities were opened in 1981/2; and in 1989 the artificial grass surface was laid. In that same year, the club's long association with Abbeyside Ladies - founded in 1928 - was formalised with the formation of St. Albans Ladies Hockey Club.

The partnership was completed when the two clubs merged to ensure that the club which originally consisted of '23 Gentlemen of Hertfordshire', would be made up of at least 23 separate teams.

Hertfordshire County Champions 20 times since 1969/70 the Club quickly gained regional success before the Men's 1s London League victory earned promotion to the National League.

The second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth elevens have all won their respective leagues whilst the Veterans and Colts have tasted victory as County and Home Counties Champions, respectively.

In 1994 the Ladies 1s emulated the men by achieving National League status and this new spirit of partnership was sealed with victory in the National Mixed Knockout Cup in 1996.

During the centenary season in 1997/98, St. Albans consolidated its claim as one of the country's most successful clubs with the best overall results in its history.

At the end of the 2000-01 season the men's 1s were National League Division 2 Champions and gained promotion to Division 1. The following year they were Division 1 Champions and were promoted to the Premier Division but dropped out of the National League in 2006. They enjoyed another season in the National League in 2010/11.

For the 2012/13 season the Ladies 1s will play in the EH Women's Conference East and the Men's 1s will play in the East Premier League Division A.

The club has a proud indoor record and has won the National Indoor Club Championship on eight occasions. In 2009/10 the men's indoor squad played a season in the England Hockey Indoor League Premier Division and now play in National Division One. The ladies indoor squad play in National Division Two.

Clarence Park, in the centre of St Albans, has been the home of the club since it was founded. The local Council has had a very professional and workman-like relationship with the club during this time and has been very supportive of any initiatives that the club has proposed. The Council recognises that the club is an excellent tenant of the listed Victorian pavilion, which is the base from which the club operates.

With the opening of two new sand-dressed pitches with irrigation at Oaklands College in time for the beginning of the 2012-2013 season, the club will have three home pitches to call on and will no longer need to use pitches at neighbouring schools and colleges.  With these improved facilities the club will further enhance its position as one of the major hockey centres north of London and in the East.  In 2008 the club became a Limited Company and was granted CASC (Community Amateur Sports Club) status.

SAHC were proud to be hosts of the 2015 EuroMasters championships. Oaklands College saw the 40+, 45+, 50+and 55+ men from nations all over Europe come to compete to take home the coveted cup.