Founded in 1887, Cheltenham Hockey Club (CHC) is 129 years old. The earliest reference to a CHC is in an article in the Cheltenham Examiner of October 1898. In 1904, a left winger, H S Slade became the first club player to win international honours appearing for England against Wales.
The club had a chequered history around that time and on at least two occasions it nearly died. The second of these was during the First World War. Afterwards it was set up by J A Lovell, who was to be a leading force in the club in the post war years. At one time he was both captain and secretary and retained the latter post for 15 years. During this period, the club ran 3 Men’s, two Ladies and the now famous Wednesday XI.
The annual subscription was one guinea and match fees were 2s 6d for the men’s 1st XI. At that time the club seems to have taken its social affairs very seriously; the highlight being the annual Dinner Dance when one year, it was reputed that the attendance totalled some 600 people.
During this period Cheltenham players won International Honours notably E S Hoare who won 30 England caps between 1926 and 1937.
By 1957 CHC was fielding 2 Men’s and 2 Ladies teams on a Saturday and a midweek men’s Wednesday XI. There were no Leagues, games were just played for enjoyment. Fixture meetings were held on a Monday at a coffee bar in the Prom. Teams were selected and the selection cards were sent by post as few people had phones. Also very few ladies had access to a car so ordinary buses were used to get to away games!
The post war years saw Cheltenham consolidate itself into one of the strongest clubs in Gloucestershire helped in the 1950s by D J Carnill, a full back who won 45 England caps and captained Great Britain at the Rome Olympics in 1960.
League Hockey came to the West of England in 1978 and Cheltenham were runners up in the first two years of the premier Division (78/79 and 79/80). The winning of the Premier Division of the Sun Life West Hockey League in 1990/1991 gave the 1st XI automatic promotion into Division 2 of the National League.
In more recent times, CHC has taken part in a successful Lottery Bid alongside Balcarras School. CHC has been based at the school since 2002 and the Club now boasts some of the best facilities in the local area with changing rooms, bar and catering facilities next to the pitch. Since the move to Balcarras, the Club has seen a team(s) promoted into higher leagues nearly every season.