EH Smith Builders’ Merchants has signed a title sponsorship deal with the University of Birmingham Hockey Club, one of the top performing clubs in the UK, which boasts teams playing in the hockey equivalent of the premiership and a host of international players.

The Ladies first team is currently top of the Premier Division, Ladies Investec Women's Hockey League – the highest level in English ladies hockey and the men are challenging for the top spot of the National and West Conference League – again one of the highest levels in the game. In total, EH Smith is sponsoring eight high calibre teams playing as part of the club.

The Ladies first team includes several members of Team GB, including England Under 21 player Hannah Martin and in January this year forward Lily Owsley was voted the International Hockey Federation’s ‘Rising Star of the Year' award - a global honour.

As part of the two-season deal, the teams will wear EH Smith-branded kit and the builders’ merchant is also providing banners at home ground pitches and mugs so that visitors can enjoy a proper cup of builders brew!

However, the two organisations are keen to share expertise too.

Darren Moles, commercial director at EH Smith, said: “This is the perfect partnership for us. The University of Birmingham is surrounded by our branches – from Stourbridge in the West and Solihull in the East to Harborne, our newest branch, which is just minutes away.

“The players are motivated and dedicated – as well as hugely talented. We are hoping to inspire our employees through opportunities to get them together with the players, so that they can understand what a winning mindset can do in business as well as sport. These young sportsmen and women are the cream of the crop, both on and off the pitch and so we are also working closely with the university to create opportunities for any of the players who might like to explore a future career with EH Smith.”

Club coach, Phil Gooderham, is equally delighted with the new signing. He said: “It is important to us that we choose sponsors who also see themselves as partners and are able to support the teams in their development – not just sign a cheque.

“We believe we have a real partner in EH Smith. For us this sponsorship represents the opportunity to support our players in their game through the best coaching and resources we can access. It’s also fantastic to have such a practical sponsor that can guide and advise us on how we maintain and develop the club’s grounds and facilities.”