St Neots Hockey Club delighted to finally be back on the pitch with their mates
- 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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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 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.
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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.
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."
Men's training continues on Tuesdays between 7.30pm and 9.30pm for the men with the same times for the women on Thursdays.