Simon Shorter signs up as St Ives target instant return to Premier League

SIMON Shorter will spearhead St Ives Hockey Club’s first team attack as they go all out for a rapid return to the East Premier League this season.

After winning promotion from East Division One in 2010, St Ives struggled to consolidate last time out, and they were relegate after just one campaign. But the arrival of the 30-year-old Level 2 coach is just the impetus the team needs, said captain Alex Prestige, as they plan for their October kick-off.

“There is a real buzz around the team,” Prestige told The Hunts Post. “With Simon’s return we are really looking forward to the new season.”

After playing for Brooklands while he was at university in Manchester, Shorter returned to Huntingdonshire to play for City of Peterborough. But, in the five years he has been with the National League club, Shorter has also been a coach at St Ives – and his input has been paramount with the club climbing from Division Three to the Premier in just three seasons.

Now, following their step backwards, he has decided to quite his role as captain of Peterborough, and turn out for St Ives again.

“I’ve just had a little baby boy,” said Shorter. “I’m 30 years of age, I have a family, and I want to give something back to the club where I first developed as a hockey player when I was 15.

“Instead of coming back when I’m a flogged horse I decided to come back when I can still add something to the club.

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“There’s a good bunch of guys here and I’ve coached them for four or five years now and they have won three promotions and we want to get back to Prem A.

“We want to add to our previous successes and take it on from there.”

There will be no messing around, Shorter turned down the offer of another year as captain at Peterborough to sign for St Ives, and he says the aim this year is an instant return to the Premier League.

“I don’t want my standards to drop,” he told The Hunts Post. “Nothing else will do but promotion this season.

“We have some quality players in the side and we are looking at new formations, strategies, and tactics – and I want promotion the year after as well.”

It was first team manager Simon Bollom who persuaded Shorter to return to the fold, and club chairman Mick Forsdick is delighted at the move.

“His return will not only strengthen out first team squad but he will also be able to provide an invaluable understanding of the game that will benefit all the players, especially the youngsters coming up through the ranks,” he said. MEANWHILE, St Ives have launched their ‘Back to Hockey’ campaign – a programme set up to attract women back to one of the UK’s most popular Olympic sports.

Hosted at One Leisure in St Ives, the informal sessions are aimed at women who are looking for a great way to stay in shape while having fun in a team environment without the complications of committing to an ongoing club membership or regular training schedules.

The campaign is backed by the England Hockey Board, the sport’s official national governing body, and will be offered by hundreds of clubs and leisure centres across the country.

Helen Clarke, coach of ‘Back to Hockey’ at St Ives, said: “Anyone who has played hockey knows the sport provides a great workout – burning calories, improving fitness and toning muscles. “The new ‘Back to Hockey’ sessions will, we hope, prove incredibly popular with women looking for a fun and social way to get fit and stay in shape.”

Holly Woodford, development director at the England Hockey Board, said: “Courses will run in six to eight week blocks and focus on fun and fitness. Participants will get the chance to not only refresh their skills, but also discover new ones.

“The sessions provide a superb opportunity for women in St Ives and Huntingdon to get involved in the sport in a format that suits women’s busy lives.”

Back to Hockey in St.Ives will be on Tuesdays (7.30pm-8.30pm) and the course will begin on July 24 and run through to August 28. To book a place on the course, contact One Leisure in St Ives.