Jacqui Barlow - Chair
I live in Abingdon with Mark and our 2 boys, Owen and Daniel. I work in Reading in a Senior Manager role for Thames Water. I have been a member of Oxford Hawks HC for over 30 years and during this time have held a number of roles within the club; I’m currently a committee member and supporting junior umpiring development. I currently play my Saturday hockey in the Ladies 5s team in the Trysports League, working with the younger developing players as they convert from junior hockey into the adult leagues, and competes for Oxford Hawks in the South Ladies Masters league on a Sunday. I am an active L1 umpire, umpiring all levels across the ladies, mens and junior leagues and working towards my L2. I am currently Chair of the Trysports League and have been an active member of the league committee for over 15 years.
Outside home life and work, I live for hockey. Having started the sport on redgra at secondary school, my PE teacher encouraged me to start to play adult hockey so I arrived at Banbury Road North joining the ladies at Oxford Etcetera’s. It didn’t take me long to get involved with the committee, and in no time at all Oxford Etcetera’s amalgamated with Adastral ladies, and the 5 ladies teams joined forces with the men’s teams at Oxford Hawks. It was around this time that Oxford Hawks also put down the first Astroturf pitch in the county and I have continued to this day to give back to the sport and to Oxford Hawks having held various roles across the club. My sons started playing too, but when it clashed with football there was only ever one winner, but I can sometimes be found running the line and refereeing my sons matches. I live for sport, having played football for Oxford United WFC, played golf at Goring and Streatley with my lowest handicap of 6, played netball in the London league and played and coached various racket sports. I am committed and passionate about hockey and feel that this is an opportunity to give something back to the game.
Hatty Wood – Vice-Chair
Having played and umpired hockey all around the UK and Europe, I settled in Berkshire in 2001 and then Oxfordshire in 2010.
I currently live in Warborough with my husband, our teenage son, and a couple of badly behaved dogs.
In 2011 I joined Wallingford HC and have been on the clubs committee as Umpire Coordinator and Developer since 2016. I am on the SCO committee as L1 assessment manager.
A chartered physiotherapist by profession, I have worked in a variety of public and private sectors. In 2019, illness necessitated a break from playing hockey, however, I was able to continue umpiring as a way to keep in the game. When I returned to playing, I found that I preferred to umpire - so took it more seriously! As an Level 2 umpire, I travel the South Central and West areas to officiate.
I am looking forward to being on the South Central team and giving something back to the game.
James Mitchell - Finance
I am married to Claire, and we have 2 boys. I live and work in the Thames Valley, as a Managing Director for a UK based Software business. I am currently a member of Newbury&Thatcham Hockey Club as their treasurer and Men's 4th Team Captain.
The NTHC Men's 4s is the top team of the NTHC development section, using the classic model of some more mature players and some youth learning the ways of hockey. I am also a L1 umpire and I’m passionate about bringing young players into umpiring and making sure there is a positive culture around umpiring, to raise the quality of umpiring across the game.
With respect to my hockey career, I was introduced to grass hockey at Eastbourne College in the 80's. Learning on "billard table" flat grass pitches on cricket outfields and the lethal redgra. I was fortunate enough to have 2 excellent inspiring coaches (David's Miller & West) who have a huge passion for the sport. So much so that the 1st XI would be driven 80 minutes to Horsham 2x a week to play on this new magic surface called Astro Turf! Eastbourne had no Astro's in those early days. It paid off as Eastbourne College had an extremely strong 1st XI and still do today. I played University hockey for Sheffield Hallam and Aquitain Hockey Club in Bordeaux. Post Uni I joined Reading Hockey club and played there for several years. At the age of 28 my family & career took over and hockey went to the back burner, until my son started playing mini hockey and I happily got back involved with hockey in general through NTHC.
Steve Hills - Governance
I am married with two hockey mad teenage girls and I live in Hurst, Berkshire. I spend most of my ‘free’ time involved with sport associated activities, predominately ‘dads taxi’ but also involved with Maidenhead Hockey Club, Berkshire Hockey, Hurst Cricket Club and of course South Central Hockey. My sport was Rugby Union but with two girls that wasn’t going to continue and as an enthusiastic parent, I am now a qualified hockey coach and umpire, albeit to quite a low level.
I am a qualified engineer having studied both Chemical Engineering and Advanced Food Manufacturing at Nottingham University and Birmingham University. I began my career at Cadbury’s in Birmingham and stayed with them for 15 years, moving onto factory management in Devon, Hereford and then Birmingham. 8 years at PepsiCo followed moving in European roles and then stepped out of food and tried putting shampoo in bottles with Unilever rather than carbonated soft drinks. Earlier in 2023 I moved to the alcohol business into a global supply chain role for Campari. As a result, my ‘home’ office has become Heathrow with the upside that there is always a new local drink to learn about when I land!
I am passionate about combining business practices to facilitate sport for all, particularly at the grass routes level. I am thoroughly looking forward to working with the South Central team to ensure we have the governance in place to do this and increase the diversity and inclusivity within hockey.
Stephen Smyth - Operations
I am married with 4 children (2 boys, 2 girls). I began my career in The Royal Navy, trained as an Electrical Mechanic, and became a qualified submariner working in Diesel Electric boats very similar in design to WW2 U Boats based in Faslane Scotland. It was whilst shore based in the Submarine Training School I developed my hockey to become a representative for the Royal Navy Hockey team in Portsmouth as a striker. I left the Navy in 1980 and retrained in Sales & Marketing at the Chartered Institute of Marketing gaining a Professional Diploma qualification and then joined a storage and distribution firm in Sudbury Suffolk. Whilst here I played for Sudbury Hockey Club first team on Saturdays and mixed-sided on Sundays, scoring 27 league goals in one particular season.
As my Marketing skills grew, I was recruited by Abbey National in the West of London to run and manage their top-line adverting agencies, briefing in and approving National TV, Radio, Press, and Poster advertising for their investment and mortgage products. During this time, I relocated to Brentwood and captained their 2nd team in the Eastern Premier Division whilst being on the committee as Club Captain selecting teams each week. I also took my Umpire training at this time and qualified for Level One. During this time, the club coach noted that my pace could be used as a central defender to mark strikers. This proved to be a career permanent move.
In 1989 I was headhunted to join Project Raincloud. A secret development to create and launch what was to become Firstdirect, the world’s first 24/7 personal banking service, built on a bedrock of high-class customer service.
I next held senior roles within AXA globally developing its presence in the consumer marketplace. Notable achievements were sponsoring the FA Cup and creating their global web presence which facilitated customer purchases of investment products. I relocated moved to Aylesbury in 1996 joining Wycombe Hockey Club. Here I played in the 2nd team till age slowed me down. I also played for a former forces team called the Nordics. A veterans club that plays against the Navy Army and RAF each year.
I stopped playing on a high when I was part of the 5th team that won their league and was promoted as Champions. Covid-19 stopped most of us from playing so when we all got back on the pitch I decided to umpire full-time. So you can see me most weekend at Ladies games in the North of the South Central Area