League Address and History
A Brief History of the MRHA Women’s League by Margaret Thompson (League Committee Chair & Arbiter 1988/2021)
The Midlands Women’s League started back in the 1988-89 season. Up to that point matches were played on a friendly basis only, but with the idea being mooted of a National League it was decided that the Midlands had to have a structure in place for clubs to gain entry into that league.
Sally Fisher, who at the time was secretary of the Staffordshire WHA, was the driving force behind this development.
A league working party was set up consisting of Ann Clarkson, Sally Fisher, Ros Hardie and Margaret Thompson.
The League would consist of 3 divisions, Premier, Division A & B with 8 teams in each. Division A & B would have equal standing.
It was decided that the clubs to be involved in the Premier Division were those who had featured in the Midlands Club Championship in the previous 3 seasons.
For the 1st season the other 2 divisions would be of equal status with the bottom club being involved in a play off at the end of the season with the nominated club from each of the nine counties within the midlands.
The League would be open to one team only from each of the MCWHA affiliated clubs.
In January 1988, it was decided that a committee should be formed as a sub-committee of the MWHA council, to undertake the running of the league. This new committee consisted of Sally Fisher (Secretary) Kath Sharman and Clare Byram (Divisional Secretaries), Barbara Jones (Umpires Sec), Ann Clarkson (Players Rep), Margaret Thompson (Arbitrator) and Janet Hopkins would handle all financial details.
During the early days the committee meetings were held at Tamworth Service Station and with the cost of coffee one cup had to last a long time!
As you can see below the first winners of the Premier Division were Leicester Ladies with Sutton Coldfield the runner up.
1991 - Decision was made to accept 2nd teams into the league.
1994 - Home and Away fixtures introduced. League expanded with the introduction of C division. Bottom 2 clubs will play off with each of the counties nominated clubs. Sue Welsh became secretary.
1995/96 - Nicky Dyke was Division A rep.
1997 - 2 teams from one club accepted into the League.
1998 - League expanded to 5 divisions with the inclusion of a play-off Conference Division.
1999 - Player registration cards introduced.
2000 - The Midlands Men’s and Women’s Hockey Associations joined and the leagues became a sub- committee of the MRHA. Jen North became Secretary
2001 - Richard Suggett became Treasurer. Eileen Edwards became Division Two rep.
2002 - Fixtures Live SMS result reporting system introduced, Administrator - Richard Suggett
2004/09 - Registration & ID card Secretary, Fiona Chamberlain.
2007 - League structure changed with the introduction of 2 Feeder Divisions to replace Division C and the Conference play-off division. Feeder Divisions to be designated North/South or East/West depending on the geographical position of the qualifying teams.
2007 - Jane Jelley Division Secretary.
2009/10 - Last League Handbook circulated.
2012 - Registration cards were replaced by the introduction of on-line photo registration on our new website www.mrhawl.clubbuzz.co.uk organised by Eileen Edwards. Registration & Eligibility Secretary and Result Sheet Secretary for the League Eileen Edwards.
2013 - Richard Suggest retired as Treasurer after12 years on the committee. Nicky Dyke was elected treasurer. Eileen Edwards took over as Fixtures Live Administrator.
2019 - Barbara Jones resigned as Umpires Secretary after 30 years on the committee.
2019 - National League expanded to 6 divisions with top 4 from each region promoted. Laurie Alcock Award for Services to Midlands Hockey, Jen North.
2020 - Laurie Alcock Award for Services to Midlands Hockey, Eileen Edwards.
2020/21 - Season declared null & void because of Covid 19, 2019/20 results used for promotion places.
2021 - National League expanded to 7 divisions with top 2 from each region promoted.
2021/22 - First season of AGM Resolution Structure.