Woodville Hockey Club, AKA The Peckers, was founded in 1952, when the Shell Hockey Club and Woodville Sports Club entered a team into the South Australian Hockey Association competition. A meeting at Rechabite Hall, Woodville, on March 20th resolved the merger. The club kit would be a gold shirt, with white shorts, and green socks with gold tops.
On March 26th, the South Australian Hockey Association agreed to the formation and under the watchful eye of player-coach Gerry Phillips, AKA “Mr Hockey”, the club quickly expanded to four teams.
1955 was a milestone year for Woodville, with the men promoted to the A Grade for the first time. With Gerry as full-time coach for the first time, the A1 team finished 5th and in 1956, they came 4th and in 1957 they played their first grand final.
In 1960, Woodville claimed their first Premiership under the captaincy of Brian Barber, who played for South Australia and also Australia on tour to New Zealand in 1963.
This was followed with titles in 1961, 1962 and 1964.
In April 1963, the Finsbury Reserve clubrooms and playing fields were officially opened by the Mayor of Woodville.
In 1965, Robert Haigh was the club’s first winner of The Advertiser Trophy for Best and Fairest in A1 Grade as adjudged by umpires’ votes. He went on to claim the award three years running from 1968-1970.
In 1966 Robert Haigh became Woodville’s second Australia representative and played for them for another decade. He captained Australia in 1975 and 1976, including the 1976 Olympic Games where they were silver medallists and Bob was chosen to carry the flag in the closing ceremony. He played 99 Tests for Australia, the first World Cup, and he played at four Olympics Games in total.
V. Eberhards won The Advertiser trophy in 1975.
In April 1977, the new clubrooms were officially opened by the Mayor.
Women joined the club in 1978, when Woodville Hockey Club Inc officially merged with Woodville Women’s Hockey Club.
Dave Francis was the club’s third player to represent Australia, playing in 1980. This was the same year that Gerry Phillips was awarded an MBE for his services to hockey and cricket. Meanwhile, Frank Worrell was the club’s first winner of the West End Trophy for Best and Fairest in 1981.
1982 the clubrooms were officially named the Gerry Phillips Clubrooms by the Mayor of Woodville, John Dyer. The club continues to mark his contribution with an annual celebration, Gerry Phillips Day, which has taken place since 2000.