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Outgoing Sudbury Hockey Club chairman Sarah Wordley has 'immense pride' at what has been achieved during her second term




Sudbury Hockey Club chairman Sarah Wordley says she will step aside this summer after a three-year term which has left her with ‘immense pride’ at what she has been able to achieve with her committee.

Having been involved with the Quay Lane-based club since playing with the juniors back in 1981, Wordley is now set to hand over the baton of taking the club forward to a new generation.

The coronavirus pandemic lockdown saw her second three-year spell as chair brought to a slightly early conclusion, with one round of East League matches unable to be played.

Sudbury Hockey Club's Ladies I co-captain Kirsty Batch, Mary Sloane (Kirsty’s mum) and outgoing chair Sarah Wordley, at a memorial game the club held for Pete Sloane in 2018 (32785564)
Sudbury Hockey Club's Ladies I co-captain Kirsty Batch, Mary Sloane (Kirsty’s mum) and outgoing chair Sarah Wordley, at a memorial game the club held for Pete Sloane in 2018 (32785564)

But she is left full of pride for the shape the club is now in at the early stages of a new decade.

After her committee’s work behind-the-scenes, she has been able to enjoy watching the club’s teams flourish.

Notably, Wordley will step aside from the role she has occupied since 2017 – and previously 2005 to 2007 – having witnessed the Ladies I team, under coach Paul Golding and co-captains Kirsty Batch and Liv Greaves, earn promotion to the East League’s top tier. And her research trawling through the club records has now shown it is the first ever time they will play at that level, having joined the East League in 2003.

Sudbury Ladies I hockey team who celebrated promotion and the East Women's League Division 1 North title at the weekend: (back from left): Steve Greaves (assistant coach), Emma Stephens, Ami Humphreys, Livvy Howlett, Daisy Palmer, Mai Easton, Hannah Treagust, Abbie Treagust, Kirsty Batch (co-captain), Paul Golding (coach); (Front from left) Becky Spencer, Liv Greaves (co-captain), Sophie Stock, Ele Brebner, Jess Baker, Abbi Taylor, Chloe HunnablePicture: Keeny Moulton-Day (30604638)
Sudbury Ladies I hockey team who celebrated promotion and the East Women's League Division 1 North title at the weekend: (back from left): Steve Greaves (assistant coach), Emma Stephens, Ami Humphreys, Livvy Howlett, Daisy Palmer, Mai Easton, Hannah Treagust, Abbie Treagust, Kirsty Batch (co-captain), Paul Golding (coach); (Front from left) Becky Spencer, Liv Greaves (co-captain), Sophie Stock, Ele Brebner, Jess Baker, Abbi Taylor, Chloe HunnablePicture: Keeny Moulton-Day (30604638)

It came after the Men’s I side finally regained their top tier regional status with promotion to Premier B last season.

Ahead of looking set to formally relinquish her chair responsibilities at the club’s AGM in June, she said: “Looking back over the three years I feel immense pride that we created the right environment for teams and players to succeed, as evidenced by promotions for Sudbury teams in all three seasons.

“I think the difference we made was ensuring we had a plan outlining what we wanted to achieve, both on and off the field, and we then engaged the right coaching team and personnel to make that happen.

“I am particularly pleased and proud of the ladies’ achievements as they have really committed and made the most of the support that has been there and they have worked so hard to maximise the opportunity.”

Hockey action from Harleston Magpies Men's III v Sudbury II..Tim Blackburn (S) ..Picture by Mark Bullimore Photography. (6505407)
Hockey action from Harleston Magpies Men's III v Sudbury II..Tim Blackburn (S) ..Picture by Mark Bullimore Photography. (6505407)

Wordley played herself for the Ladies I up until 2004 and for other sides until hanging up her stick ahead of the 2009/10 season.

As well as the Ladies I’s historic promotion, which she described as a ‘magnificent achievement’ having gone undefeated, she also paid a special tribute to captain Chloe Nevill’s third team.

“The Ladies thirds are promoted into Division 3NE and were also nine points clear of their nearest rivals and also unbeaten.

“Captain Nevill garnered youth and experience and delivered great results.”

She said the Ladies II, who finished fourth out of 10 were showing “lots of promise for next season under the captaincy of Anna Cooper”.

She added: “Much of the plaudits must go to coach Paul Golding who attracted 30-plus ladies and girls to training over the course of the season and whose approach – tactical and people management – was the catalyst to the success of the whole Ladies’ section.”

HOCKEY - Sudbury Ladies III v Bury St Edmunds IV....PICTURE: Mecha Morton... (7528216)
HOCKEY - Sudbury Ladies III v Bury St Edmunds IV....PICTURE: Mecha Morton... (7528216)

Reflecting on where the club, who are still based with the cricket club at Quay Lane but have been playing on Great Cornard Sports Centre’s Astro-Turf pitches since moving away from grass surfaces, she said: “The club has a thriving junior section supported by coach volunteers and lots of promising youngsters coming through the ranks and already involved with senior hockey, so the future looks bright.”

Mark Dudley’s U18 Girls winning the Home Counties Girls League and Suffolk Indoor league and reaching the final of the England Hockey Tier 2 competition in Reading was also picked out as a highlight of her last three years.

Worldey and her committee have also ensured financial prudence, with their saving contributing to a new pitch carpet, while creating an uplift in the social activities, including dinner dance, at their Quay Lane pavilion.

Sudbury Hockey Club Under-18 Girls and coach Mark Dudley after winning their way through to a national tier 2 final at Rugby (32895160)
Sudbury Hockey Club Under-18 Girls and coach Mark Dudley after winning their way through to a national tier 2 final at Rugby (32895160)

She said felt there had been “a strengthening of the relationships with key partners at TGS (Thomas Gainsborough School), Friars Street and with East Region umpires and committee”.

Having been involved with the club for nearly 40 years, since the age of 13, on a personal note she said: “The thing that would give me most pride is if I have been even a small part of helping young people and adults see the joy that comes from being part of a fantastic sport and local club.

“As a club Sudbury may not have the facilities or money of other local clubs but I believe the passion and commitment we show means we punch above our weight in terms of playing capability and socially.

“I’ve had fantastic support from my committees, in particular from fellow club stalwarts Tim Blackburn and Liz Spencer. I am pleased to hand the club to my successor in good shape and look forward to remaining involved but without the responsibilities and time commitment a role such as this takes.”

The club will be celebrating their 2019/20 season’s achievements at their dinner dance on Saturday, October 10 at their Quay Lane clubhouse.

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