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Sid Clench, 87, finally retires from playing and umpiring for Dartford Hockey Club

By Nicola Jordan

After decades of playing and later umpiring hockey in Dartford, Sid Clench has hung up his whistle,

Sid and his twin brother, Ron, have been the mainstay of Dartford Hockey Club since the late 1970s.

The 87-year-old first picked up a hockey stick when he was in the army in 1946, and went onto play for Barnehurst Hockey Club and the Unilever team where he was goalkeeper.

Sid Clench with players past and present.
Sid Clench with players past and present.

It was when that side folded he joined Dartford, then known as Crakenford Hockey Club.

Both Ron, who passed away in 2010, and Sid have offered advice and coaching tips over the years, rarely missed a match and were well-known in the umpiring community across the county.

Sid was presented with a trophy at the club’s ground at Dartford Technology College to mark his retirement.

The inscription read: “Ideally the umpire should combine the integrity of a judge, the agility of an acrobat, the endurance of Job and the imperturbability of Buddha. Sid – the longest reigning umpire who will always be Dartford’s ideal umpire.”

Mandy McWhinnie, publicity officer, said: “We are both privileged and proud to have Sid as a member of the club and relish his continued support on the sideline. His time and his involvement will be sorely missed.

“The club wanted to do a special presentation for Sid to acknowledge how special he has been to us.

“We also wanted to thank his wife, Daphne – The Guv’nor – for the support she has given Sid and us over the years.”

The grandfather, who lives with Daphne, 85, in Kingswood Close, Dartford, said: “I started playing hockey when I was 18 and have been involved with Dartford for 30 years, so I shall be popping back from time to time to support them.”

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