Stalwart hockey player celebrates 50 years with the same club

In the cut-throat world of sport, players tend to come and go from clubs with alarming frequency. So it makes a change to salute the remarkable loyalty of Belper woman Chris Hallsworth.

Monday, 1st May 2017, 1:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:45 pm
Chris Hallsworth is presented with an engraved trophy and a large floral arrangement at her testimonial match by Belper Ladies teammates Jess Carter, Poppy Williams and Jenny Irish.

For she has just completed 50 years with one club -- and she has no intention of moving or indeed retiring!

To celebrate stalwart Chris’s unique half-century, Belper Ladies Hockey Club organised a testimonial match for her at Belper Meadows Sports Club on Sunday.

Friends and former players turned out in force to pay tribute to her. And the team Chris captained were not only victorious, winning 4-3, Chris also led by example by scoring two goals with penalty strokes.

“This club has been my second home for the last 50 years,” she said. “This is where I have enjoyed the sport I love the most and where I have made many friends. It is even where I met my husband, Geoff.”

Chris, who is a well-known, prominent figure with other organisations in Belper too, first joined the hockey club so long ago, as a schoolgirl back in the 1966/67 season, that England’s football team had just won the World Cup!

At that time, there were two ladies’ teams who used a wooden tennis-pavilion for changing rooms and to serve after-match refeshments. Later, they progressed to another pavilion, now an equipment shed, but had to go through the men’s showers area to access the kitchen to prepare their teas!

A new clubhouse and changing rooms were built in 1990, and the grass pitches were replaced by an Astroturf surface.

As the club evolved, Chris was captain for a couple of decades, bringing a countless number of junior players into the fold, and also secretary of the associated sports club for a similar period.

To mark her milestone, she was presented with an engraved trophy and a bouquet of flowers by clubmates Jess Carter, Poppy Williams and Jenny Irish.