History of the Club
The name of Merton Hockey Club first appears in the hockey annals during the winter of 1893-94. During its history, Merton has functioned almost continuously but for breaks due to lack of players between 1897 to 1907 and during the First and Second World Wars. Merton came into existence as the result of misfortunes besetting two other local clubs.
During the season of 1891-92 the Wanderers Hockey Club was thriving with fixtures against such clubs as Surbiton and Wimbledon, but for reasons unknown they went out of existence at the end of that season. This left the ground they had been sharing with Merton Cricket Club unused during the winter months. At the same time, Mitcham Hockey Club, a club that had been playing since the seventies was asked to leave its ground on the cricket green.
As several of the Mitcham men were also Merton Cricketers, it was almost inevitable the Merton Hockey Club should be formed to make use of the vacant ground. The new club adopted the colours of Cheltenham – the shirts being black with cerise diamonds with white collars and corresponding stockings. These colours were kept until the club reformed in 1907 when the chocolate, mauve and gold kit appeared. At the same time as the change of strip came a move to the John Innes Memorial Ground that was to remain the club headquarters for over sixty years.
The Club came back into being immediately following the 1914-18 War with only eight playing members but by the end of that season was successfully running two sides. From that period the club grew slowly until in 1928 a 4th XI was fielded for the first time. The club fluctuated around that size for many years until it moved its headquarters to Joseph Hood Recreation Ground. This move coincided with a change of playing strip to the amber shirts and enabled the club to grow until it was able to field six men’s sides and 2 ladies’ sides. This brief treatise of Merton Hockey Club’s history is based on an opening address given by Alderman J P Brown, The Mayor of the London Borough of Merton, on the occasion of the Truman South Hockey League Finals on Saturday 14 April 1973 at Joseph Hood Recreation Ground.
Unfortunately the club’s fortunes took a down turn in the late eighties and early nineties due in the main to a lack of an all weather pitch and the cessation of hockey being played in the local schools. However new links with other schools have revived the Colts section, an influx of players has enabled two men’s sides to be fielded and the moving of the club’s headquarters to the North Cheam Sports & Social Club provided access to an all weather pitch.
As recently as the early 2000s Merton Hockey Club moved to Tooting & Mitcham Football Club as this provided the club with improved facilities and the use of a new sand dressed astro which proved to be very popular with all players.
In the 2013 season we made the move up the hill to host all our home games at Harris Academy Morden (it was known as Bishopsford Arts Academy then). This move coincided with TMFC replacing their astro-turf pitch with a 4G turf, which as good as it looks, is not hockey compatible.
Harris Academy has become somewhat of a fortress for Merton teams and there is often a blockbuster day when all our teams play one after the other which is a great atmosphere. The only downside being that lack of an on premise clubhouse.
In 2015 Merton Hockey Club has decided to make a historic move back to its former home at John Innes Memorial Ground. We will be sharing the John Innes Clubhouse with our partner, the Merton Cricket Club and will be hosting our post match teas and selected social events in the clubhouse.