Stirling Wanderers Hockey Club is based in Central Scotland and has 2 mens, 2 womens teams and a large Junior section.
The Men’s club started out in 1979, as Stirling Hockey Club, by ex club stalwart David Anderson. To begin with, the club was primarily a junior section for young players in the Stirling area. David at this stage was playing for ICI Grangemouth at the time and many of the club’s juniors found themselves playing in the morning for Stirling and an afternoon game for ICI.
Now in the later stages of his career, David started a senior Stirling side, persuading some experience players to join him in his quest. The club based at the old cricket club on grass, started with some friendlies in its first season, moving on to national league hockey soon after.
As the junior section expanded and gained experience, the club gained a foothold in the league and after 2 seasons began a remarkable rise up the leagues. The club, starting out in Division 6 and gained 5 successive promotions as they moved up the leagues so more and more players moved to the club from higher level clubs. The Whitelaw brothers Gordon and Iain joined from ICI, along with Jim Wynne from Babcock Renfrew. Scotland international goal keeper John Kilgour came from Harris, soon to be followed by internationalist and now club veteran Neil Sharpe.
Together with these players and the cunning guile of now Stirling Albion supremo Stuart Brown and current Chief Constable of Central Scotland Police Gordon Samson the club went from strength to strength. The emerging talent of the junior section meant the club entered a golden age and found itself in the Premier League pitting themselves against then MIM, Menzieshil, Kelburne among many others. In the Premier League the club did perform the double home and away against Kelburne on a few occasions.
The move to the new astroturf at Annfield in the eighties proved to be the turning point in the club’s fortunes, having played on the grass at cricket club for 3 seasons then the blais at the University for 2 more seasons. It seemed to gell the young and the old into a unit and young talents like Jamie Stokoe, Jon Taylor, David Parker and Robert Birrell came to the fore.
Around this time the club joined forces with the ladies team, Central Wanderers and shared practise sessions at Forthbank as the two clubs began to grow closer.
The ladies were a strong National League team and held their own with the likes of Dawn Gannon, Jean Faichney, Shona Airth, Fiona Harfield, Julie Watson, Carol Anderson and then Scotland internationalist Sharon Bissett.
The two clubs joined forces in the nineties and the name changed to our current one Stirling Wanderers Hockey Club soon after.
The Ladies have remained a strong National League Hockey Club in Scotland and in recent years been moving up the rungs of East District with their 2nd team.
Unfortunately, the demise of the junior section, mainly due too the lack of opposition, seemed to coincide with the fall from grace of the men’s section. Three teams unfortunately became one as players retired and university guys moved on in search of work. The Men did battle hard with the likes of Jamie Whitsed and Neil Sharpe remaining loyal and working hard to keep the men’s section of the club afloat though the decision was taken to start from scratch at the bottom of East District 4 in mid 2005 and attract a new young crop of players.
A pleasing upturn in fortunes has befallen the club in recent times, with the ladies firmly established in national league 3 and pushing for promotion. The gents after a gap of some years returning to the Men’s National League 3 with Gordon Nelson leading the club to promotion through two leagues and Ben Taylor through three rungs of East and Central District. The club also now has two strong 2nd teams currently moving through the East District leagues with a great blend of youth and experience.
Most pleasing of all though is the junior section, which is now the envy of any club, thriving in the new environment of the water based pitch at Forthbank and its new clubhouse at the home of Stirling County Cricket Club.
The club really has come full circle !!!!
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