Girls’ hockey started at Dollar Academy in 1903. The boys had been playing rugby and cricket for half a century but the only girls’ sport allowed was tennis. Hockey was not considered to be lady-like. However, Alison Wingate and her friends persuaded Mr Dougall, the new Rector, to ask the (all male) school Governors to allow the girls to play hockey. They had refused before, but this time they gave permission for a pitch to be made in the girls’ garden and playground. To preserve the girls’ modesty there was a hedge to prevent the boys from watching hockey games.
Sergeant McGeachan was the girls’ coach. A Girls’ Hockey Club was formed and the girls were given permission to erect a small wooden pavilion at their own expense. Known as the hen-coop, it was used until the current Girls’ Pavilion was built in 1954. Initially the girls played in long skirts and wore ties. As time went on the uniform evolved, with skirts getting shorter. Fortunately the grass on the pitch got shorter too as motorised mowers began to be used.
Alison Wingate was the first hockey captain and from the beginning there was great enthusiasm. The first match was played on 8th February 1904 against the Ladies of Dollar, who won by 2 goals to 1. Then followed two matches against St Hilda’s and one against the Ladies of Stirling, all won by the new Academy team. The fixture list increased and by 1907 the 1st XI (still the only XI) were reckoned to be the best team in Scotland.
By 1912 there was a 2nd XI and by 1928 there were four XIs. During the 1920s and 1930s the teams did well – except when they played Glasgow schools which had blaes pitches. The Dollar pitches frequently suffered from muddy conditions and matches had to be cancelled. It would be many years before Dollar girls had an all-weather surface to play on.
By the 1950s the girls had three hockey pitches. In 1950-51 the 1st XI were able to win their matches on blaes in Glasgow and were unbeaten during the whole season. There were six Academy teams playing matches and there were sufficient Former Pupils (FPs) to set up an FP team in 1950.
On 2nd October 1954 the new Girls’ Pavilion was opened in the presence of two members of the original 1903 hockey team. After the ceremony the 1st XI played a match against the FP XI. The school team won by 4 goals to nil.
By 1960 the girls had abandoned gym tunics and stockings and were wearing shorts, aertex shirts and long socks…
We are very proud of the history of hockey here at Dollar Academy, and we thank the women who came before us and fought to give our hockey teams the amazing opportunities they have today.