Category Archives: General News

Covid 19 update from England Hockey 16-10-20

Clubs within tier 3 lockdown can’t travel to Tier 1or2 to play matches and also Tier1/2 can’t travel to Tier 3 to play.
This will have a large impact on the league and certain divisions in particular. The league is meeting this evening and will discuss the implications.
At the moment Liverpool City Region and Lancashire clubs are in tier 3 with it possible that Greater Manchester will join them. We also realise that some players will be residents of a different tier to their clubs and we’ll look into what we can do for those.
>>>>>In light of the government announcing the new Local Covid-19 Alert Levels, we can now update the situation for hockey. Over the past 24 hours a number of clarifications have been sought by NGBs and Sport England from government and this update incorporates the answers to those questions.
Firstly, and crucially, outdoor organised team sport continues to be seen as a low-risk activity for the transmission of Covid-19. The weight of evidence across sports – allied to the excellent work clubs have done establishing safer environments – demonstrates the confidence government has. From an England Hockey perspective, the visibility that clubs have given of reported cases and exploring the reasons behind them also demonstrates the low level of risk. We cannot link any cases to transmission on the field of play, and where transport has been shared and safer travel guidance followed there is also a low level of risk of transmission. The only examples of transmission or where larger groups of players have been required to self-isolate is where social distancing rules have not been maintained outside of play.
At all three of the new alert levels, outdoor hockey activity is allowed to continue:
At Level 1 (Medium) and Level 2 (High) of the new restrictions, hockey can continue but with further limitations to arrangements in indoor settings for clubs at Level 2 – linked to groups not being allowed to mix indoors.
Unfortunately, at Level 3 (Very High) alert level there will be some restrictions on hockey activity due to travel restrictions. People are advised not to travel into or out of areas that have a very high alert level, including for sport. Further limitations also exist at this level for indoor setting arrangements.
NB We are seeking clarification on an exemption to travel outside of a Level 3 area for disability sport, sport for educational purposes or supervised sport for under 18 activity. We will update on this as soon as we can.
Training and matches for clubs and players within the Level 3 (Very High) areas can continue. Obviously, some players may be not be able to leave or enter a Level 3 (Very High) area to play and in those examples we encourage other local clubs to support players who temporarily may not be able to access their normal club activity.
A quick guide to show how the new Covid Alert Level system impacts hockey in England. Please click here or on the photo to download the full version.
Covid Alert Levels
England Hockey has been meeting with representatives of clubs in the Tier 3 areas to discuss the circumstances and will communicate with England Hockey League clubs shortly.
This season was always going to require all involved in hockey to demonstrate the flexibility, resilience and spirit required to keep hockey going. We continue to be grateful to all the volunteers that are supporting activity and hope that the chance to get out and pick up your stick is appreciated by all involved. England Hockey also continues to request that leagues to show the flexibility and patience required to let games happen when they can, and support postponements if required.
England Hockey will continue to follow the permissions from government as the guide for when hockey activity is allowed. Ultimately, we want to ensure that clubs and players can come through this period as strongly as possible.

Whitchurch Hockey Academy – starting again 26th September 2020

Message from Alex Fry, Chairman, Whitchurch Hockey Club

I hope you and your families are all well.  We’ve been cautiously getting hockey back up and running in recent weeks, starting with senior training, and over the next few weekends our first matches.
I’m pleased to say that we are now looking at Academy sessions, with the aim of starting from Saturday September 26th, in our normal 10-11.30am slot.  Apologies for the length of this email, but please take the time to read it carefully!
With hockey being classed as a so-called ‘Covid-secure’ activity, England Hockey have set out clear guidelines and procedures which we need to follow in order to deliver sessions in the current circumstances.  Most of these are common-sense precautions around social distancing and hygiene measures, but they are also running a contact-tracing service, which means that anyone taking part needs to be registered with England Hockey, so that any infections that do occur are recorded, and others participating in their sessions can be notified.
Our new club secretary, Anna Latham, has taken on the role of Covid Officer in order to ensure compliance, and we complete risk assessments for all of the sessions we run.
Due to the additional constraints and extra workload, our plan is to open Saturday Academy sessions to all Junior players – i.e. anyone under 16 who is not participating in Senior hockey.  (In general, we encourage players who are 13 and over to get involved in Senior hockey, but recognise that some players are not yet confident enough for this.)  For the foreseeable future we will not be running additional Junior sessions on Wednesday evenings, but will try to cater for as many over 13s as possible within our Senior sessions.
To get started, we need to establish how many juniors will be attending, and start the process of registration.  So, if you are interested in your children attending Academy, please complete the following two steps:
1.  Register each child with England Hockey using the link below – if your child is already involved in county hockey, you can also register them for this activity at the same time:
(We will be able to see the list of registered players via our Covid Officer’s access, so you don’t need to forward the confirmation email you will receive.)
2.  Email to confirm that you have registered your child(ren) and to let us know you would like them to participate in Academy sessions.
academy@whitchurchhockeyclub.com
If there is sufficient interest and no changes in the current England Hockey and government guidelines, we will be in touch to confirm the start of Academy sessions and provide details of the specific procedures we will be following.
Finally, Crewe Vagrants are still hoping to run their Sunday junior tournaments this season, and we have been invited to take part on the dates below.  However, we will definitely need some additional support in order to organise and run teams at these events, so please let me know if you would be happy to volunteer to help with any of the age groups.
U8 + U10
4th Oct 2020
1st Nov 2020
17th Jan 2021
7th Feb 2021U12

11th Oct 2020
15th Nov 2020
24th Jan 2021
21st Feb 2021
U14
18th Oct 2020
22nd Nov 2020
31st Jan 2021
28th Feb 2021
I hope that’s all clear, but if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to email or call me to discuss, and especially if you are not sure whether your child should be attending Academy or Senior sessions, and for more information on what we’re doing on Wednesday evenings.
I look forward to hearing from you, and getting hockey back underway for all our junior players!

Alex Fry
Chair, Whitchurch HC
07770 623471

Keep up to date with all the latest information on the website

https://www.whitchurchhockeyclub.com/covid-19/

KEY UPDATE: Moving to Step 5 of Return To Play guidelines – 02.09.2020

Newbury & Thatcham HC Aug 2020
After the announcement on 7 August to move to Step 4 and update given on the decision making for Step 5, England Hockey has set out the plan for Step 5 and the resumption of competitive hockey.
 
With the level of uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 and the differing implications for clubs across the country, any plan to resume league and other competitive hockey is now a judgement call for England Hockey. This decision has been taken using the latest information and knowledge that is available but there is obviously a risk of further changes over coming weeks and months. The overriding objective of England Hockey has been to encourage competitive hockey to be played as safely and as equably as possible in the circumstances for all clubs. The forthcoming season will not be ‘normal’, but it can still allow hockey on the pitch to be as fulfilling and enjoyable as normal.
 
Progress Update & Issues
All previous updates relating to Step 5 have referenced the need for compliance, capability and confidence for hockey to resume. The work done in the last few weeks indicates that capability is still the most significant concern.
 
More than 75% of clubs have appointed a Covid Officer, which is mandatory for a return to hockey, in the past three weeks.  We offer our thanks to those club administrators that have undertaken the work required by this role to ensure the game is well set to resume. Almost 100,000 players have signed participation agreements and the registers being provided are giving key evidence for the readiness of clubs and players to comply with the expectations of hockey under Covid-19 conditions. Almost 400 pitches are already in use, around half of the normal number during the peak of the season. The pre-season friendlies that have started have helped clubs to understand how to operate in the new normal and iron out issues related to players correctly interpreting the guidance, e.g. the need to socially distance when the ball is out of play and no team huddles or team goal celebrations that break social distancing rules.
 
All clubs will need a Covid Officer when resuming hockey and we offer our thanks to those club administrators that have undertaken the work to ensure the game is well set to resume. 
 
Local ‘lockdown’ restrictions are obviously a concern and will continue to be monitored but even the most restrictive currently in place (example here – see ‘Can I Play Sport’) are encouraging the continued provision of organised outdoor sport activity.
 
The most significant concern remaining relates to the ability of clubs to access facilities. The majority of issues relate to education sites and, with schools only returning this week, many clubs are only now able to resolve the position of pitch availability and usage. Around 100 pitches are currently not available for external use but the picture is becoming more positive on a daily basis. 
 
The wider government advice also changed for schools on 28 August when the final guidance for their reopening was issued. This change is important as the Department for Education guidance for schools now references the Department for Culture Media and Sport guidance on the opening of community sport facilities. It also advises schools to follow NGB guidance on the provision of sport. England Hockey has issued advice to schools around the provision of hockey. It is hoped that this change in guidance will improve the likelihood of clubs accessing school facilities, although these decisions will be made on a school-by-school basis. This will take some time to work through for clubs and England Hockey is providing tools and advice to help support clubs in making the case for their safe use with schools.
 
We recognise that some people have concerns over the impact on travel and off-pitch provision – changing rooms and bars – however our interpretation of feedback to date is that teams are confident these issues should not be the overriding factor in determining whether to return to play.
 
Approach to Step 5
Step 5 in England Hockey’s Roadmap to Return to Play was clearly set out as the resumption of league hockey and a full competitive programme of activity.
 
In light of the progress made and the desire to get the game back on, the recommendation for the resumption of league hockey and progressing to Step 5 is as follows:
  • Adult League Hockey should start on the weekend of 26 September or 3 October. This will mean a slight delay to a few leagues start date which is solely intended to allow clubs time to secure pitch access arrangements. (nb the EHL Premier Division will start on 19 September)
  • Junior league and competitive activity can resume from 26 September, assuming the appropriate approach to competitive activity is put in place. This is particularly relevant for junior festivals where large numbers could attend and detailed risk assessments specific to this type of activity at the venue must have been undertaken. 
  • All other competitive activity within schools or the Player Pathway can resume in line with the specific guidance for those areas of hockey. 
  • Recommendations for the indoor hockey competitive programme will follow soon.
League organisers are expected to show a good degree of flexibility, particularly in the early weeks of the new season as clubs resolve facility access issues. The recommended league rule variations issued by England Hockey are designed to aid this being done fairly and consistently. We are aware that regional and local leagues are updating clubs on their approach to these in line with the updates from England Hockey.
 
We also encourage clubs to support neighbouring teams with facility access issues, providing any spare capacity or support accessing local facilities so matches can be played. Some matches might need to be played outside of normal Saturday slots but in the circumstances, this may be a necessity. 
 
England Hockey will continue to follow government guidance as the circumstances around Covid-19 continue to evolve and will issue updates as circumstances change. 
 
For now though, let’s get back together and help to get hockey well and truly back!