Conclusion of the 2020/2021 season
- Mar 2nd, 2021
What are plans look like for the remainder of the season?
Firstly apologies for the delay in writing this. The Government made their announcement regarding lifting of restrictions in regard to Covid 19 on 22nd February(last Monday) and since that time we, as well as England Hockey, have been awaiting specific news regarding what can and cant be done and what, if any, travel restrictions will be in place.
At the East League Management Committee meeting last Thursday, it was discussed and agreed that the only divisions with anything riding on the outcome was the Women’s Premier Division and the Men’s Premier A Division. This is because the England Hockey National League’s plan to expand the Nartional League in the 2021/22 season is continuing and they wish to take 2 teams from our top Women’s and Men’s divisions and there will be no relegations.
Informal work has been going on behind the scenes with the clubs concerned to assess the appetite to return to play and we hope, should travel arrangements be sufficient, that we will be able to complete the minimum season requirement of each team playing each other once for those Premier teams that wish to compete. Those who do not wish to compete will not be forced to play, as has been the case with any East League hockey since the pandemic began.
We will be in contact with those clubs more formally in the next week or so to agree fixture timetables, etc.
For the remaining divisions (i.e. from Women’s Div 1 down and Men’s Premier B) down it was agreed that the season would be terminated with immediate effect. The feedback we have had from both clubs and senior members from clubs is that there is an appetite to play hockey but for clubs and players to be tied to a perceived tightness that a League fixture may bring. The point was also made that post-Easter availability of players does reduce.
The East League Management Committee encourages clubs, teams and players to take every opportunity to get out on the pitch and play hockey, if that means using some of the League fixtures that have not been played, being played as friendlies so be it, but we also recognise that clubs may take the opportunity to run fun club specific activities to suit their membership.
The 2020/21 season has been enormously difficult and we thank all clubs and their administrators for their open ears, opinion and advice, where that advice has been constructive.
Our thoughts are any Regional or County Officer, in any role, or any club member/volunteer who have lost either a family member or friend to Covid-19. We share your loss.
Looking forwards the new 2021/22 season we will say goodbye to some clubs, who have been part of the East furniture for a number of years as they disappear to new areas.
England Hockey are resolving issues with the last half-a-dozen clubs and then we know exactly what clubs will be in the new East area and then we will start to plan for the new season. The season will see the Men’s and Women’s teams playing under the same League Structure for the first time with (1 Premier Division, 2 x Div 1 divisions and then 4 x Division 2’s in Quadrant format) and we will welcome the Norfolk Ladies League who will be absorbed into the East League.
Due to the clubs/teams being lost and extra teams going up to the National League we can pretty much guarantee that there will be no perceived relegations and we expect that more clubs will be seen as being promoted.
There will be more comms in due course so that we can say goodbye to clubs we will be losing (for instance all of the Kent Ladies will be moving to the new South-East area) and please note that all clubs meeting on Sunday, 13th June, invitations will be sent out with at least 4 weeks notice.
Please all stay safe and well and as always if you have any questions please do address them through your club committee, who will ask us, that way we can give a consistent answer and the facebook page will remain an information page rather than a debating society.
East League Secretary