Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club has a long history, with reports suggesting the club was formed in 1922. Recently unearthed photographs certainly show the team was up and running by the 1926/27 season, with an L Tedford captain and a Miss J Brown president (you can see the old photographs in the Gallery). The club folded during the Second World War, but was re-established around the late 1940s/early 1950s with members such as Maureen Ardis, Maureen Woods, Edna Trimble, Jacquie Kimm, Sheila Patterson, Alma Thompson, Pat Archer, Ann Coffey, Olga Thompson, Ann Thompson and Elsie McCracken all featuring in the post-War team.
Miss J Brown was the first of three Presidents of Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club – Mrs Jeanie Boyd was the second around the 1950s, with the final President to date being Mrs Jean Pollock, who was in office in the 1970s.
The club has had a number of home pitches over the years with the girls playing matches at various locations in Donaghadee (and further afield). The early days saw home matches being played out the Millisle Road at Leslie Hill before they were relocated to Northfield. The Dam Field (or Crommelin Park as it’s now known) was the next home pitch around the 1950s before a shift back to Northfield (with changing facilities in the Pigeon Club across the road). The club even spent some time at Orangefield, East Belfast in the early 70s before coming back to Donaghadee to settle in the late 70s at the current Crommelin Park residence.
Morrison’s, the local butcher in Newtownards sponsored the first goalposts at Crommelin Park because the council would not provide them for the club – and we thought lack of investment was a recent thing!
Throughout the 1960s and 70s, the club grew in popularity and in its heyday fielded three teams competing in various league and cup competitions, with players being drawn from the local community as well as schools in Donaghadee, Ards and Bangor. The girls played in white tops, green skirts and white socks with red bands – depending on which team you played for determined how many bands your socks had – one band denoted a 1st XI team member, two a 2nd XI player and plain white socks meant a 3rds player.
The club enjoyed success during the 1960s and 70s, winning the Junior League and K.O Cup with the 1959/60 team, being runners up in the 1964 Bangor Sixes tournament and winning the Intermediate Cup in 1970/71. The team got through to the finals of the Bangor Sixes again in August 1975. There was further success in 1997 and 1998 when Donaghadee won the Antrim Sixes; in 1998 Donaghadee came from 2 behind against Antrim Ladies in the final thanks to goals from Jennifer Petrie and Jill Dennison – subsequently named Player of the Tournament – to send the game to penalty flicks in a nailbiting finish to bring the silverware back to the Dee.
In recent years a lack of investment in the club and its facilities, coupled with significant developments and investment elsewhere in the borough meant other schools and clubs benefited to DLHC’s detriment, with other clubs in the borough enjoying the latest astroturf pitches and modern changing facilities, enabling them to run four or five league teams whereas Donaghadee sometimes struggled during the Noughties to field even one.
Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club has however always boasted a close-knit, all inclusive social side which continues to draw in its players, including those who have hung up their sticks but who keep coming back because the craic is mighty.
With a number of players returning to play for the Dee after spells away while they furthered their studies, not to mention new faces appearing at the start of the 2011/12 season, Donaghadee LHC enjoyed the luxury of at least 12 players for every single game during that season. Added to the promise of even bigger and better social events (namely the Hockettes on the Piste ski trip at the end of the 12/13 season, not to mention numerous mid-season frolics), the Dee continues to be the only place to be!
Indeed a switch to astroturf for the 12/13 season saw the club increase sufficiently in numbers for entering a 2XI in to Ulster Hockey’s league programme so, for the 2013/14 season, Donaghadee LHC became a two team club again – for the first time in 30 years! Success at the club has continued, with the 1XI gaining promotion to Senior 3 at the end of the 2014/15 season. Mon the Dee!
2015/16 1XI Ali Lawther | 2XI Emily Morris
2014/15 1XI Ruth Kennedy | 2XI Deborah Gilmore
2013/14 1XI Suzie Ferguson | 2XI Lisa Alexander
2012/2013 Alison Lawther
2011/2012 Carolyn Scott
2010/2011 Jennifer McVeigh
2009/2010 Katie Drummond
2008/2009 Nicky Banford
2007/2008 Jennifer McVeigh
2006/2007 Joanne Boyce
2005/2006 Lorna Simpson
2004/2005 Carolyn Scott
2003/2004 Avril Fulton
2002/2003 Nicky O’Neill
2001/2002 Lorna Simpson
2000/2001 Jennifer McVeigh
1999/2000 Joanne Williams
1998/1999 Avril Fulton
1997/1998 Lisa Higgins
1995/1996 Patricia Henry
1994/1995 Alison McNeice
1993/1994 Nicky Banford
1992/1993 Joanne Petrie
1991/1992 Alison McNeice
1988/1989 Christine Edgar
1986/1987 Alison McKeag
1976/1977 Angela Downes
1970/1971 Jacquie Kimm
1926/1927 L Tedford