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Will Carter, 27, is playing a lead role as president of Cheltenham Hockey Club

All Areas > Sport > Hockey

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Friday, 10th December 2021, 09:00

Will Carter. Photo: John Barben, Exstops Sports Photography Will Carter. Photo: John Barben, Exstops Sports Photography

Think of a president in almost any walk of life – sport, politics, business – and you would imagine, probably quite rightly, that they would be on the older rather than younger side. That’s not the case at Cheltenham Hockey Club, however, where their president is still in his mid-20s.

Will Carter was only 26 when he took on his new role back in June last year and, despite his relatively tender years, it’s certainly a role that he is relishing.

“It is a bit of passion project, I really enjoy it,” said the now 27-year-old. “I’ve really taken to the club as a whole, it’s a big part of my life  and I enjoy it.”

Carter, originally from Lincolnshire, only joined the club when he moved to this area for work – he’s a solicitor – in 2017.

“I joined Cheltenham because a friend of mine from university, Adam Napier, was playing for the club,” explained Carter, who first started playing the sport close to 20 years ago.

“I first picked up a hockey stick at the age of eight, by chance, when I was at primary school and I took to it.

“It’s the only sport I had a bit of talent for,” adding with a laugh, “and I mean a bit!”

Carter is a fixture in Cheltenham’s 3rd XI and took on the captaincy in his second year at the club. “I like to volunteer,” he said.

He gave up the captaincy to take on the role of president but can still be heard on the pitch even though he no longer wears the skipper’s armband.

“I play at the back,” he laughed, “it’s less running and I can shout at the players in front of me.”

While Carter still has many, many more years left in him as a player, he is also hoping that he can remain as club president for a good few years.

“I’m not planning to step down any time soon,” said Carter, who lives in Cheltenham and is engaged to his fiancée, Phiz Berry.

“I’d like to leave something of a legacy,” he continued. “I’ve bought a house and put down roots here.

“I don’t know if the club have had someone younger in the job before, but I like mucking in and just helping the club run.”

So what does the president of Cheltenham Hockey Club do?

“I do a bit of everything,” said Carter. “I have a general oversight of the committee.

“We have a lot of committee members with various roles and I make sure that we carry out those roles. I support where needed, from sorting out the clubhouse, helping to source the umpires and sorting out the teams, where I oversee selection in the men’s section.”

So how many hours a week does he devote to hockey?

“Too many,” he laughed. “I can’t answer that, but I do spend a lot of time thinking about hockey.”

Talk to Carter for just a few minutes and it’s easy to see why he has such a pivotal role at such an established club, a club that runs four men’s and three ladies’ teams as well as juniors from the under 16s upwards. He speaks well, has a clear mind and, crucially, it’s all about the club as far as he’s concerned.

Ask him if he wants to play at a higher level and he replies: “My focus is just on enjoying playing hockey.”

The club has a close link-up with Cheltenham Junior Hockey Club, working to maintain a clear pathway – so the future is certainly bright, but in these post-lockdown times, Carter is realistic when looking to the immediate future.

“Initially, I think it’s about maintenance,” he said. “We’ve got a men’s team and a ladies’ team in the national leagues and we want to keep them there.

“Equally, as a sport we’ve seen a number of people that have stopped playing post-pandemic, so it’s about ensuring everyone can have a chance to  focus on playing hockey.”

That’s something that Carter does by the bucketload, of course, even though his wife-to-be is not into the sport at all. So when are they getting married?

“In April 2023, just after the hockey season has ended,” laughed Carter.

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