St Neots Hockey Club upbeat as they plan for good year in 2021

Chris Butterworth in action for St Neots Hockey Club.

Skipper Chris Butterworth scores for St Neots Hockey Club. - Credit: TIM BETTSWORTH

There will be similar tales from most sports clubs across the country after a year like no other but the movers and shakers at St Neots Hockey Club are still upbeat ahead of the new year.

There has been plenty to celebrate through 2020 with a growing membership across all their teams, some excellent performances and results on the field and a new kit deal with Adidas no less, ending years of a miss-match of designs.

St Neots Hockey Club squad

St Neots Hockey Club show off their new strips. - Credit: TIM BETTSWORTH

And like the sport itself, St Neots are confident they have the resilience to emerge from the pandemic and tiering system in a strong position.

Chris Butterworth, new co-captain of the men's first-team along with Mike Hornby, said: "We’ve all found 2020 challenging but it never beat us. Bring on 2021.”

Mike Hornby in action for St Neots Hockey Club

Mike Hornby in action for St Neots Hockey Club in a intra-club friendly. - Credit: TIM BETTSWORTH

And one of his predecessors as skipper, Ben Seaber, added: “It’s been a weird season, for obvious reasons but we’ve managed to restructure the men’s side, bring in some younger legs, grow the club and change the coaching setup. And it’s starting to payoff on the pitch.”

And according to vice chairman Nik Payne, they have even been making the best out of away trips.

He said: “The club has a limited budget and so encourages car sharing, which a lot of our players like anyway because it’s all about being a team of friends on the road. It's also eco-friendly.”

Chris Butterworth and coaches at St Neots Hockey Club

First-team captain Chris Butterworth confers with his new coach at St Neots Hockey Club. - Credit: TIM BETTSWORTH

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The tier four restrictions add yet more worries for the club, based at Longsands Road, but the new kit was on display as two of the club's sides played an intra-club friendly prior to Christmas.

The game between the men's first and seconds started cagily for the opening 20 minutes but it was the ones who opened the scoring, club captain Brad Forsdick’s getting the first of his two goals.

Brad Forsdick in action for St Neots Hockey Club

Brad Forsdick in action for St Neots Hockey Club during their Christmas friendly as Mike Hornby looks on. - Credit: TIM BETTSWORTH

The second arrived midway through the second half as  they ended up with a 5-1 win. Butterworth also scored as did striker Joe Darby while Phil Gentles was on target for the seconds.

Dave Towson (left), Phil Gentles (middle) and Mike Hornby (right) in action for St Neots Hockey Club.

Dave Towson (left), Phil Gentles (middle) and Mike Hornby (right) in action for St Neots Hockey Club. - Credit: TIM BETTSWORTH

They also had the player of the match on their side, Dave Towson picking that up for excellent midfield distribution and his threat in attack.

All in all though it was another example of what might be for St Neots once they are allowed to play again.

Kai Hall in action for St Neots Hockey Club

Kai Hall in action for St Neots Hockey Club. - Credit: TIM BETTSWORTH


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