Inverleith Hockey Club was founded in 1917. We are immensely proud of all the members past and present that contributed to our successes over more than 100 years of our history. Explore our journey and our legends below!
A massive thank you to Club Archivist Alan Veitch who has intently documented and collated our club history. Without him a lot would have been lost to time.
‘An Early History of Inverleith Hockey Club. 1917 – 1967’
OUR HISTORY IN PHOTOS
The Club was formed in 1917 by staff & workers at the North British Rubber Co., Fountainbridge (now the Scottish & Newcastle Brewery). Being in war-time reserved occupations, matches were played against other local factory and hospital teams. The first ground used was Inverleith Park – hence our name.
Ever since since WWII, Inverleith has played at such diverse places as Redford Barracks (for many years courtesy of the Army), Castlebrae School, Frogston (our own ground for some years), Meadowbank, Saughton and Currie HS artificial surfaces. Most recently at Mary Erskine School, Edinburgh University pitches at Peffermill and the Edinburgh Academy pitches on East Fettes Avenue. With an ever-growing membership and still no permenant home ground, we continue to play where we can and to confuse our opponents!
Until the onset of World War II, in 1939, the club performed moderately well on dreadful pitches, practically all muddy grass, managing to field 2 teams. A peripatetic nomadic existence found them playing at Murrayfield (now SRU HQ), Drylaw Mains (now housing) and other public parks.
In 1922 a player called Thackwray featured twice for Scotland and Frank Morris, an original member, played in goal for Scotland in 14 matches between 1926-32 and was reckoned to be the best goalkeeper in the British Isles. The only matches played in those days were against England, Ireland and Wales.
Hockey virtually closed down during World War II and it was not until 1947 that Leon Veitch (Alan Veitch’s father) and some other pre-war players revived the club, starting only with 10 players.
District League hockey was officially sanctioned in the 1950s. By 1958, Inverleith had 4 teams and too many players. To help with fixtures, the 2nd XI was renamed the Nomads. However, this surplus of ‘talent’ spurred the club to assist in the formation of two other Edinburgh clubs: Edinburgh Civil Service (now Edinburgh Hockey Club); and Broughton School FP (now Waverley Inveresk Trinity) whose initial teams featured ex-Inverleith players.
The 1st XI, for almost fifteen years (1954-1969), dominated East District hockey with the reserve teams also winning their respective leagues on several occasions.
The 1st XI at this time was in fact regarded as probably the strongest team in Scotland and at one time in the sixties fielded 9 full internationalists and 2 final trialists (Ally Philip and A Knott) in the team. Ironically, Edinburgh Civil Service then became the dominant force in Scottish Club hockey (both outdoor and indoor) for almost the next two decades, supported by recruits from Leith Academy, a strong school at the time.
Although Inverleith never won the National League title, the Scottish Cup was won in 1968 and 1975, being losing finalists in 1966, 1971 and 1973. Having won the cup in 1975, the Club represented Scotland in the European Club Championships held in Amsterdam the following year.
Denis Hay played in the 1972 Olympics and Ken Dick played for GB in 1976 and these two, plus Tom and Andy Hay, also played for Scotland indoors. In the 70’s, the 1st XI were fortunate to be captained by Stewart McNulty (64 Irish caps) and later by Peter Ewles who played for Scotland while a member of Edinburgh Civil Service and, like Denis Hay, played for GB in the 1972 Olympics.
Three of those who played in the Championships (Lee Cousins, Jim Douglas and Ally Philip) stayed in the Club into the 90s. Team manager, Ian McLeod only retiring from umpiring in the 00s.
In playing terms, the 1st XI form in the 80s and 90s fluctuated between the National League Divisions, going down to Division III at one stage, but fighting back to present Premiership status. The first team have have maintained a top half league finish in recent seasons whilst a new crop of youngsters are brought into the highest level of the club.
On the umpiring front, the Club also produced international umpires in Ian McLeod, Neil Buxton, Ernie Wall, Bill Denny and Martin Campbell (all FIH badged); and Peter Rendle, Alastair Page and Bill Henderson (SHA international badge). Wall and Campbell were also indoor international umpires (FIH badged). The club has also provided officials for both the SHA/SHU and the East District.
Ernie Wall was awarded the OBE for services to Scottish and International Hockey in 1982.
The U18 Boys Team was RAF Scottish Champions from 1998 to 2002. In 2003 they just missed making it 6 wins in a row being beaten in the finals by Kelburne, losing narrowly 1 – 2. Unfortunately during the 5 years in a row, Inverleith received limited recognition from the Hockey authorities and to this day it is unlikely that this feat will ever be completed again.
At the start of the 2005/06 season Inverleith Hockey Club merged with Forrester Ladies Hockey Club in order to strengthen the women’s section of the club.
The First team continue to find success on the pitch maintaining a top 5 finish in National Division 1 in the 00s. Inverleith also continued to supply many of the players and coaches for Scotland’s international hockey squads at all age groups. Indeed, the 2006 Commonwealth Games Men’s hockey squad contained a number of Inverleith players: Stephen Dick, Adam Mackenzie, Derek Salmond, Allan Dick & Graham Moodie.