League Address and History
A Brief History of the MRHA Women’s League - by Margaret Thompson
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 W H A, 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.
It was decided that the clubs to be involved in the Premier League were those who had featured in the Midlands Club Championship in the previous 3 seasons.
For the 1st season the other 2 leagues 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 any 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 League were Leicester Ladies with Sutton Coldfield Runners up.
Both teams qualified for the National League’s inaugural season of 1989/90.
Significant league structure changes.
Home and Away fixtures introduced Introduction of the C division. Bottom 2 clubs will play off with each of the counties nominated clubs
Sue Welch became secretary
Decision taken to enable clubs 2nd XI teams to compete at Midlands level
Player registration cards introduced. Qualifying conference league introduced
The Midlands Men’s and Women’s Hockey Associations joined and the league became a sub committee of the MRHA
Jen North Became Secretary
Richard Suggett became Treasurer
Fixtures Live SMS result reporting system introduced.
2 feeder leagues introduced to replace the conference play-off division
Feeder divisions to be designated North/South or East/West depending on the geographic positions of the qualifying teams
Registration cards were replaced by the introduction of on-line registration organised by Eileen Edwards Registration & Eligibility Secretary
Richard Suggest retired as Treasurer after 12 years on the committee. Nicky Dyke was elected treasurer. Eileen Edwards took over responsibility for Fixtures Live.