Hockey ‘family’ grateful for return after impact of lockdown
- Credit: Archant
Two lockdowns have not treated Ely City Hockey Club well, but it is hoped they will still be able to enjoy the season that remains.
The club, which boasts three men’s and ladies’ teams, saw their 2019-20 campaign ended abruptly due to Covid-19, before the current season was stopped for a second lockdown from November 5.
“It was a disappointment as everyone was enjoying being back on the pitch having not been able to play for six months, but the club made the most of the games and training sessions before lockdown was announced,” Ely City Hockey Club spokespeople said.
It is not just off the pitch that Ely have felt the full force of coronavirus.
Their usual fundraising events including an end-of-season dinner could not take place, while after-match teas and other social events were impossible to run.
“It is a real hockey family. Hockey is a big part of members’ lives so when not able to play, it does have a big impact both socially and physically,” club spokespeople said.
During lockdown, players have been keeping fit through their Strava group where they record times and distances covered, but it’s not only the seniors that have been affected.
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“Many of our juniors have lost a lot of confidence in their ability and have worried about coming back,” Julia Gilbert, junior coach at Ely City Hockey Club, said.
“Ninety per cent of our junior players don’t have the opportunity to play hockey at school or college so not being able to play at the club has affected many of them.”
Ely prepare to restart their Mr Cricket Hockey East Hockey League season on Saturday, December 5 after England Hockey confirmed that training and matches can resume under Tier 1 and 2 restrictions from Wednesday, December 2.
While all teams aim to do as well as they can in their respective divisions, getting back to playing again can act as the main morale boost within the club.
“The club’s main aim will be to get back to playing hockey as soon as possible whilst keeping everyone safe,” club spokespeople added.
“We are hoping to pull together both a men’s and ladies development side this season, made up of juniors not currently playing in the adult men’s or ladies’ teams together with a few adult players.
“Once back playing, the club’s targets will be for all teams to do as well as they can and to enjoy what season they get. They are just grateful to be able to continue to play.”