At 99 years old, the Fish Hoek Hockey Club, founded in 1921, has entered its 100th year and will be commemorating its special milestone with several events throughout March and April.
In the early 20th century the small seaside village of Fish Hoek was a popular holiday destination where local children spent hours playing games such as cricket and hockey on the beach.
Although the sand was far from ideal for a hockey game, Fish Hoek’s early days of beach hockey ignited a passion in these youngsters who later became Fish Hoek Hockey Club stalwarts.
Hockey was played barefoot with sticks that only vaguely resembled the basic shape of those used today.
In 1921, EW Rice, a Fish Hoek businessman donated two dozen sticks to the cause although these sticks were still not quite up to world hockey standards – they were made of cherrywood and looked like walking sticks.
Nevertheless, Mr Rice’s contribution to the club encouraged the development of youth and adult hockey in Fish Hoek, leading to Fish Hoek Hockey Club’s first annual general meeting on July 4 1921 at the home of EH Sparks, who was the first member to hold the title of president and kept it till 1938.
Although players and coaches did not have the luxury of an official home turf or private clubhouse during the early years, the club soon became a force to be reckoned with in the Western Province sporting sphere after the club found its ideal training grounds where Fish Hoek High School’s cricket pitch and rugby fields are today.
The men’s first team made their official league debut in 1923, competing amongst the best in the Grand Challenge League, and in 1929 the men went on to win the league, bringing home the coveted Ohlsson Cup for the first time in the history of Fish Hoek Hockey Club.
In 1931, Fish Hoek’s men shone once again, not only winning the league for a third consecutive year but also having eight players invited to represent Western Province at the annual interprovincial tournament.
Although the Fish Hoek men were unable to maintain their dominance of the Grand Challenge League for a fourth consecutive year after their success from
1929 until 1931, it was not long before they proved themselves worthy once again by claiming the cup for four years from 1935 until 1938. However, due to many players volunteering to join the allied forces during the war, the club was left with very few players over the age of 18.
Thus, while the world was at war and the valley prepared itself for possible invasion, the activities of Fish Hoek Hockey Club
dwindled in the background, but the youth stepped up to the challenge, entering a young team, composed almost entirely of schoolboys, into the Grand Challenge League throughout the 1940s.
In 1952, after extensive discussion, the Fish Hoek Ladies’
Hockey Club was established and entered its first team into the official Western Province league.
In the same year, the men’s section, led by two Springbok players, allowed Fish Hoek Hockey Club to become the first club to complete a season in Grand Challenge League entirely unbeaten.
Despite challenges faced by the women’s team, they continued to play and finally succeeded in dominating their competitors and becoming Reserve League
champions in 1976. This earned Fish Hoek a coveted position in the First League where the women remained for 12 years, from 1977 until 1989.
During the 1990s and 2000s, Fish Hoek welcomed a new generation of hockey players who stuck with the club stalwarts through the next few decades of highs and lows.
Fish Hoek Hockey Club was renowned for its exuberant
social life and its legendary events which included tours to Knysna, participation in the Mardi Gras and other local themed parties and informal gatherings.
As Fish Hoek Hockey Club enters its 100th year, club members look to the past with pride and fond memories, and to the future with hope and excitement for what is yet to come.
An itinerary of upcoming events
* Golf day at Clovelly Country Club on Thursday March 26 at 11.30am. The cost is R2750 per four-ball.
* Cheese and wine season opening at the Fish Hoek Hockey Club on Friday March 27, at 6pm.
* Black-tie centenary dinner at Clovelly Country Club, on Saturday March 28 at 6.30pm. The cost is R450 a person.
* Day of hockey on Sunday March 29 at the Fish Hoek High and Primary School Astro at 9am for juniors and 12.45pm for
* Storytelling evening on Monday March 30 at the Fish Hoek Hockey Club at 7pm.
* Brass Bell karaoke night on Wednesday April 1. Entry is R30 a person.
* R10 000 draw on Friday April 3 at the Fish Hoek Hockey Club at 7pm. R100 per draw ticket.
* Derby day vs Western Province Cricket Club on Saturday April 4 at Wynberg Campus of Schools Astro at 11.30am.
Information courtesy of:
Before We Forget: The Story of Fish Hoek by Cedryl Greenland; interviews with Fish Hoek Hockey Club members; Fish Hoek Hockey
Club private historical collections; Fish Hoek Museum False; Bay
Echo newspaper archives; Looking Back by Joy Cobern; and The
Cape Town Book by Nechama Brodie,