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 runs an extensive indoor hockey programme starting at U11 through to U18. The programme consists of weekly training sessions and fixtures against other schools and local men’s hockey clubs. Both U16 and U18 teams compete in the regional finals held in December each year, most recently we have qualified for the U18 national finals finishing as losing semi-finalists.
Block Fixtures and cup competitions
The school currently runs 13 teams, from 1st X1 to U14 D team level, encouraging all boys to enjoy and develop in the sport. We have a large fixture programme for all teams playing block fixtures against schools such as Uppingham, The Perse, Oakham, Merchant Taylors, Stowe, Bloxham, Felsted and Stamford. In addition to our regular fixture programme we enter the England Hockey Schools champions at U14, U16 and U18 recently finishing as runners up in the U18 competition in 2019. We also enter the U15 independent schools’ competition to allow all year groups to take part in national competitions.
The school’s facilities are excellent. The Gordon Field has modern, well-equipped changing rooms and two recently resurfaced AstroTurf pitches.
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, most recently travelling across Europe (Germany, Holland, Belgium) playing both indoor and outdoor hockey. The tours are designed specifically to provide not only a high level of hockey but also a range of educational and cultural experiences.
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.