Twenty years review – are the rules of hockey simpler, safer, better?

What are the ethical considerations of stem cell research? What is the effect of pollution on the epigenome? And is CRISPR the best-in-class genetic engineering tool? These are some of the questions we sought to answer in the enjoyable trip up to March, in November. Menzies’ only reprieve from all this science chat was an enjoyable trip through Sutton in the isle (2002 village of the year didn’t you know?) and, as it turns out later very topical, our conversation on the rules in hockey and, in our opinion, how dangerous they are.

In honour of Sutton in the isle’s glory days, twenty years ago in 2002,I decided to write the match report as a retrospective look-back at twenty years of hockey with an emphasis on safety/rules interpretation. Why? When you see someone covered in blood holding their head, and after talking about the dangers of hockey rules an hour before in the car, it does strike a nerve…Consider the facts of the March game as a case study of Hockey rules being ambiguous, or simply dangerous. Not a reflection on March whatsoever. Hockey in general. Focusing on three plays/rules that have caused the greatest number of injuries/debates over the 20 years I have been playing hockey:

• Aerials

5 or so aerials in which 2 or more people are within 5ms of each other, waving their sticks in the air face-height whilst running, attempting to bring down a rock-solid ball above their heads. This, apparently, is legal with the latest rule introductions from England hockey this year. They were previously banned….because it’s dangerous. Really stupid rule interpretation/introduction. Pro-level, fine. Amateur leagues. No. We’ve already had 1 player suffer a dislocated wrist this season from aerials due to a collision. Change it back.

• Short corners

Jimbo being smashed in chest with a flick outside of the post which according to the rules, is a foul against… jimbo. Short corners need to be re-evaluated and attackers penalized if they mis-hit or smash someone in the face/arm…(in my opinion). Four guys running towards a rock-hard ball being hit, sometimes uncontrollably sometimes at head/waist-height (certainly at lower skill-level leagues such as ours), is stupid. We’ve already had multiple hand and head injuries this season due to short corners. England hockey – get on with the consultation and make a progressive rule change, like the long-corner rule which I think everyone enjoys!

• Coloured balls

Very clearly detailed within the east league hockey rules that the ball ‘should be white’. Not sure why this is a point of contention every game. This can be seen as more trivial than the points above, but considering 10% of the male population are reported as colour-blind in some capacity, it’s quite dangerous to have a rock-solid ball flying around the pitch. Also, it’s just not very inclusive to bring the sport to a larger audience, something the FA Football and Rugby have sought to change understanding their target audience and bringing the sports to the masses. Hockey needs to keep up with the times.

Final note

Not what the M3s were expecting from a match report, I’d bet. But hopefully will deter them from voting me LOM again. I’ll conclude it with other noteworthy LOMs that my teammates SHOULD have voted for:

• Jimbo stopping play having heard a whistle that wasn’t blown whilst no-one else did….

• Dave Aston’s green card

• Adam C subbing himself off for a wardrobe change (2nd week in a row)

• Charlie for being happy to sit back and let the opposition have the ball, 4-2 down

• Tom Anns for asking if it was OK to eat Adam’s sausage and chips whilst Adam had to leave to provide urgent medical care. He proceeded to eat said second meal anyway.

• Walshy for not being there for Tom. Have they ever been separated?? One teammate described the ordeal being like (an obviously traumatic) childhood memory of his: ‘It’s like that episode of Postman Pat all lost and alone after he got separated from his black and white cat’

• Menzies’ pass to their forward

• New Adam’s shameless goal with the back of his stick


Joe Whittaker 1 year, 7 months ago

I really disapprove of someone with admin rights changing this match report and still keeping my name on it when the content is very different to what I originally wrote.

Joe Whittaker 1 year, 7 months ago

This is not my match report

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Charlie Curedale-Rayner
Player of the Match

Top speed and great goal

Joe Whittaker
Lemon of the Match

Getting Goal King from flicks would just be too easy