St Neots Hockey Club is all set for the new campaign on Saturday after celebrating a fantastic pre-season.

Chloe Pinn breaks up an Ely City attack for St Neots Hockey Club's second team. Picture: TIM BETTSWORTHChloe Pinn breaks up an Ely City attack for St Neots Hockey Club's second team. Picture: TIM BETTSWORTH

Their nine adult teams have been in action for several weeks, notching up some impressive victories and making history along the way

The club’s membership has swelled over the summer, with both new members and the next generation of junior players joining the adult side.

Will Bellamy, Louis Sommerville and Joe Stokes all made their first-team debut for St Neots Hockey Club against Bedford. Picture: TIM BETTSWORTHWill Bellamy, Louis Sommerville and Joe Stokes all made their first-team debut for St Neots Hockey Club against Bedford. Picture: TIM BETTSWORTH

This has meant that the men’s first team fielded their youngest squad in living memory in a cracking game with rivals Bedford, the average age being just 18.

This followed a 4-2 victory over their other arch-rivals St Ives earlier in the summer.

Tanya Sargeant in action for St Neots against Bedford. Picture: CHRISTOPHER FAULKNERTanya Sargeant in action for St Neots against Bedford. Picture: CHRISTOPHER FAULKNER

The second teams won 1-0 at home to Wisbech Town.

The ladies’ first team recorded a 2-0 win over Bedford while Saturday’s other friendlies saw victories for the seconds, a 3-1 win away to Ely City, and the fifths, 8-0 at Welwyn Garden City.

Seven of the goals in that game were scored by two 13-year-olds, ably supported by some of the club’s veterans.

All of this has been done under the cloud of the pandemic.

Nik Payne, vice-chair at the Longsands Road-based club said: “We’ve spent much of our time ensuring we are totally COVID-19 compliant.

“And what’s been great is that all of our rivals are of the same mindset. We all want to play hockey but we know we all need to scrupulously follow the government guidelines.

“And that’s what we’ve done.”

First-team captain Ben Seaber added: “We’ve trained hard for the coming season. We’ve got new coaches, new players and even a new kit but we’re the same family club.

“It sounds a bit corny, but although COVID-19 tried its best, we, along with all of the hockey clubs, will be starting the season undefeated.”