St Neots Hockey Club delighted to finally be back on the pitch with their mates

First goal after lockdown scored by 1s striker Sue Glover Credit Tim Bettsworth

St Neots Hockey Club rediscover the joy of scoring as Sue Glover scores in the return to training. - Credit: TIM BETTSWORTH

After a long and at times dark winter Longsands was once again a hive of activity, noise and laughter - as St Neots Hockey Club returned to training with huge smiles.

All smiles for Maia Bache-Haley of St Neots Hockey Club

All smiles for Maia Bache-Haley of St Neots Hockey Club. - Credit: TIM BETTSWORTH

Almost 90 players attended the two sessions in the first week since the easing of lockdown restrictions although both were brought to a halt earlier than usual for fear of burnout after the long absence.

Iain Moor was happy to be back training

Iain Moor was happy to be back training. - Credit: HELEN ROWLAND

“We weren’t really worried about doing a full session,” said the club's vice-chairman and manager of the ladies' first-team, Nik Payne. “It was just about getting back out there and having fun with friends, rather than a physical workout.”

Olivia Corner of St Neots Hockey Club

More smiles at St Neots Hockey Club, this time from Olivia Corner. - Credit: TIM BETTSWORTH

And even though the weather changed dramatically from the warmth of the men’s session on Tuesday to the near-freezing conditions for the women two days later, everyone was just happy to be back.

St Neots Hockey Club's goalkeeper Ben Seaber

St Neots Hockey Club's goalkeeper Ben Seaber. - Credit: HELEN ROWLAND

Former first-team captain Ben Seaber said: “The buzz from training with my mates again made up for the weeks of Netflix" while captain of the ladies' fourth-team, Alex Colby, echoed the sentiment.

Lottie Knights in action as St Neots Hockey Club returned to training

Lottie Knights in action as St Neots Hockey Club returned to training. - Credit: TIM BETTSWORTH

She said: "It was so much fun and it doesn’t matter that it was cold or that I’m now stiff as a board, I’m still beaming."

The ladies' third and fourth teams at St Neots Hockey Club enjoy their return to training

The ladies' third and fourth teams at St Neots Hockey Club enjoy their return to training. - Credit: TIM BETTSWORTH

The youngsters at the club will get their turn on Sunday with the resumption of the hugely popular junior academy sessions followed by some U18 fixtures.

The type of social distancing that St Neots Hockey Club prefer

The type of social distancing that St Neots Hockey Club prefer. - Credit: TIM BETTSWORTH

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And as the adult East Hockey League season has been declared null and void, the club is looking to extend training into the summer, as well as organising local friendlies once England Hockey gives the go-ahead.

St Neots Hockey Club's chairwoman Helen Sargeant

St Neots Hockey Club's chairwoman Helen Sargeant beams while watching the men's return to training. - Credit: ST NEOTS HC

Chairwoman Helen Sargeant said: “Hockey has proved extremely resilient against COVID-19 and with the measures we’ve put in place, we’re hopeful of a steady, safe return to the sport we love."

St Neots Hockey Club goalkeepers Jo-Jo White and Amy Harley

St Neots Hockey Club goalkeepers Jo-Jo White and Amy Harley. - Credit: TIM BETTSWORTH

Men's training continues on Tuesdays between 7.30pm and 9.30pm for the men with the same times for the women on Thursdays.

St Neots Hockey Club's welfare officer Lorna Marshall enjoyed being back

St Neots Hockey Club's welfare officer Lorna Marshall enjoyed being back. - Credit: TIM BETTSWORTH


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