England Hockey
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Club History

The club was formed originally in 1899 as Trowbridge Hockey Club, playing its home matches at the County Cricket Ground in the town. Disbanded during the Second World War, it did not reform until 1962, initially at Trowbridge but moving the following year to the Westbury cricket ground. The resurrected club is therefore now entering its 50th season, some 113 years after its foundation.

 

In 1975 came a change of name to West Wilts Hockey Club, reflecting more accurately the wide area from which its members were drawn. This is still the case, with players travelling regularly from most parts of the triangle formed between Bath, Swindon and Salisbury.

West Wilts returned to the County Ground in Trowbridge for the 1981-82 season, in association with Trowbridge Cricket Club, to form the Trowbridge Cricket and Sports Club. At the same time, an ambitious scheme of ground drainage and pavilion restoration was initiated, involving total expenditure of some £50,000. This resulted in some of the best sporting facilities in the region, further enhanced by the arrival of Trowbridge Ladies Hockey Club in 1983 as the third member of the Association.



Trowbridge Hockey Club 1904
Trowbridge Hockey Club 1904

1983 also heralded a new era for West Wilts Hockey Club in the form of a sponsorship agreement with White Horse Windows Ltd. of Warminster. For the next five years the club was known as White Horse West Wilts, receiving playing kit and other support from the Company in return. The next agreement, which also lasted five years, was with the Trowbridge based firm of solicitors, Bishop Longbotham and Bagnall and the White Horse prefix was dropped.

With the increasing use of artificial turf pitches for top quality hockey, and the resulting decline in use of grass pitches, West Wilts Hockey Club began to look further afield for home pitches during the 1990’s. Few such pitches were available locally, although they were required for all League games. As a result, West Wilts played at King Edward's School and the University in Bath; at Monkton Coombe School; at Dauntseys School; and at Warminster School, finally settling on the last facility as their current base.

For the 1996-97 season, the transfer to the new venue was completed with an agreement to share clubhouse and changing facilities with Warminster Cricket Club, thus appearing to sever the club’s links with Trowbridge. At the same time, the men’s and ladies’ Clubs formally merged to become a single organisation, acknowledging the close links between them. Somewhat perversely, after years of waiting and uncertainty, an artificial pitch is now finally available in Trowbridge, at the John of Gaunt School, which the club use mainly for junior section coaching and matches. The opening of an astro-turf pitch at the Army Training Centre in Warminster has confirmed the town as the club's base, with matches shared between Warminster School and the Army pitch. The new pitch now available at Warminster Sports Centre at Kingdown School in Warminster has added to the available options for the club, while there are also plans to develop the clubhouse at the Warminster Cricket Club ground.