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Game Changing Conference of 1930

By Phil Bailey.


This month we go back in time to 1930 when we saw a season of change for the game – particularly for women; it was a pitch that saw real change.


Between the 4th and 8th July, in Geneva, Switzerland, the first fully constituted Triennial Conference of the International Federation of Women’s Hockey Association (IFWHA) took place; previous IFWHA only conferences had taken place in 1927-29 and Wales was a founder member.


The council consisted of officials from Australia, Danish Ladies, England, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and Rhodesia, United States and Welsh Women’s Hockey Associations.


In the September following the conference, a report was published detailing the important items discussed and items of historical importance. This first conference was ‘laying foundations’ and saw a unique gathering of women interested in developing the sport of field hockey; a ‘rallying ground for all the nations where women’s hockey was played and a centre of international friendship and understanding’.


As many of the countries played under different rules, a special committee had been appointed to work on a ‘survey of National rules’, following the 1930 conference where a motion was upheld that ‘all international matches shall be played under one code of rules.’ Miss Orsman of Wales was a member of this three strong committee.


Outside the official conference important discussions were taking place with representatives from both The Federation Internationale de Hockey (FIH) and the IFWHA, with both working towards establishing ‘that Federation of which we dream’ by coming together as one body.



The IFWHA saw the importance of women moving forward as they represented ‘half of mankind’, had ‘most to do with the young’ and should use their influence to ’help peace and prosperity in the world’.


Miss A.D Jones reported back on the progress of women’s hockey in Wales in place of Miss Orsman, who could not attend the conference; in the development of Welsh Women’s hockey these two were both hugely influential.


The main points presented by Miss Jones were:

  • There had been a record increase of nearly 100% of clubs in Wales playing women’s hockey in the last 5 years

  • Interest in schools was on the increase

  • A Welsh women’s touring team had visited France and Belgium in 1928, a return visit took place in 1929 and Wales toured France in 1930

  • The standard of hockey was improving

  • Coaching by English coaches at coaching camps was much appreciated

  • An Umpires’ Register had been formed and there was a lot more interest in this side of the game

  • 3 French girls had been to a South Wales camp and more were expected

The results of the above noted Welsh Tours were:

1928:

Belgium 3 Wales 3 at La Rasante, Woluw, Ground, Brussels

France 0 Wales 6 at Olympique de Columbes, Paris

1929:

Wales 12 France 1 at Penarth Athletic Ground, Cardiff

1930:

France 1 Wales 11 at Boulogne


The Welsh domestic international season in 1930 was less successful. The ladies drew 2-2 with Ireland at The Gnoll Athletic Ground, Neath; lost 8-0 to England at the The Cricket Ground Broadway Peterborough and lost 7-1 to Scotland at Gobowen, Oswestry.


Elsie Harris scored all of Wales’ goals in the Home Nations that year. They also beat Australia 6-1 at the Vale of Clwyd, Denbigh in October (Harris scoring another hat trick, Sheere 2 and Williams 1).


The men were less successful, losing 3-7 to Scotland at Gobowen, 0-2 to England at Whitchurch and 3-1 to Ireland at Waterford.


Despite results, 1930 was an important year in Welsh Hockey particularly in the development of the women’s game both in Wales and across the world.


Many of the items discussed in this article were not resolved at the 1930 conference, but women’s hockey was clearly developing in Wales and across the world and the results can clearly be seen now in 2020.

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