Although hockey at Bedford School was played in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, it seemed to disappear in the period just before the First World War.
It was not until 1974 that the then Head Master Bill Brown and Tim Machin decided to re-introduce hockey; this was helped by the appointment of the subsequent Head Master, Ian Jones (a former Great Britain international). It was originally phased in from junior level and by 1978 Bedford School had a 1st XI side and hockey was the major sport in the spring term. In the relatively brief period between 1978 and the present day, Bedford School has become a major force in schoolboy hockey. The school has won through to the national finals in both the indoor and outdoor competitions on numerous occasions and has won the indoor competition five times.
The school has hosted the East Regional Indoor Tournament for the last five years and the school is highly competitive in this format of the game. The U18s finished in third place in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 regional event, just missing out on the National Finals.
In 2012, the school joined a Midlands School Hockey League, which consists of seven schools (Oakham, Oundle, Repton, Rugby, Trent and Uppingham) and fixtures are played against these schools at all levels, as well as other local and regional hockey-playing schools. A recent third place finish in this league is a strong reflection of the level of hockey at Bedford School and the progress being made. During the 2017 season, the U16s won the outdoor East Championships and went on to represent the region at the National Finals.
Facilities are excellent. The Gordon Field has modern, well-equipped changing rooms and two AstroTurf pitches, one of which has just been re-surfaced to a sand dressed standard. The new pitch brought great excitement for the boys and staff, who couldn’t wait to play on it. The upgraded surface has also played a part in the improvement of the boys’ technical skills. The school currently runs 13 teams, from 1st X1 to U14 D team level, encouraging all boys to enjoy and develop in the sport.
The coaching at Bedford School is of a high standard, with many of the academic staff (some of whom have international honours) contributing alongside professional coaches. The sport is run by a full-time Director of Hockey, Samuel Mee, whose expertise is used at all levels of the game, throughout the school.
Bedford School has embarked on many international hockey tours with Southern Africa being the predominant destination. The tours are designed specifically to provide not only a high level of hockey but also a range of educational and cultural experiences. The most recent tour was a highly successful one to South Africa in the summer of 2015.
There have been many Bedfordians who have gone on to represent their county, region and country, and the school actively encourages and assists all boys to reach the limits of their potential in the sport.