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New coaching team at Ben Rhydding Hockey Club


David Birch (Men's 1st Team Coach), Demy Dowley (Coaching Director of National League Squads) and Matthew Birch (Women's 1st Team Coach)

After 15 years at the helm as Men’s Head Coach at Ben Rhydding Hockey Club, Demy Dowley is stepping aside from the role and the Club are very pleased to announce that David Birch has been appointed to be the Men’s 1st Team Coach.


Demy is one of a small number of Level 4 coaches in this country and, notably, was the only female coach in the Men’s National League last season. She will remain as Coaching Director of our National League Squads for the club where she will support and guide both Matthew Birch and David Birch as they lead the Women’s and Men’s Performance programmes into the new season.


David Birch has been involved in helping Demy with the Men’s 1st Team over the last 2 years. He is a Level 3 Coach and graduated from the England Hockey Advanced Coaching Programme last year. David is Head of Hockey at Bradford Grammar School where he has been for 5 years and is currently finishing his MSc.


Matthew Birch is continuing in his role of Coaching the Women’s 1st Team, just starting the preparations for his 3rd season in charge. He is on the England Hockey Advanced Coaching Programme – looking to graduate next year.


Club Chairman, Andrew Musgrave, commented that the level of coaching talent at the Club for the National League Squads is fantastic, and gives both experienced and younger players the right environment for the teams to be successful. Andrew is looking forward to the coming season and is delighted that Demy is staying at Ben Rhydding in her new role and continuing to mentor both David and Matthew.


Demy told uu: “I have put my heart and soul into the club for 25 years and part of that was also about creating a legacy. I have been working closely with both David and Matthew for the last 3 years and I have every confidence in their abilities and their vision to take the club into the future.”


Demy has coached the Mens’ 1st team squad through a roller coaster journey of relegations and promotions to finally achieve her mission of securing them in the National League. Demy has been a coach at Ben Rhydding for 25 years and helped pave the way for the club to be one of the most prestigious junior boys sections in the country, reaching 14 National Finals and producing 6 International players in that time, two of whom are now in the senior GB squad. Demy’s reputation as an England Hockey Pathway coach saw her recruited to the England Age Group programme where she coached for 5 years in the U16 and U18 girls’ squads. Thereafter, she became a coaching mentor to the programme and became a full time employee of England Hockey’s coach development workforce and a member of the European Hockey Federation’s Coaching Committee.

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