Kelso club misses playing hockey but fully understands why

Players and associates from Kelso Hockey Club learned last week they’d be facing at least another five months without match action, after Scottish Hockey announced there would be no competitive play in Scotland until September at the earliest.

Mary Weir (library image)
Mary Weir (library image)

The ‘September at least’ ruling was based on levels of uncertainty around facilities, social distancing and teams’ access to players over the summer months.

Locally, clubs such as Fjordhus Reivers, Peebles, Berwick, and others, will also be affected.

While the announcement may provide at least a little clarity going forward, local enthusiasts say they are “massively missing” their sport.

However, they stress they completely understand the need for the measures and for responsible action during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Club chairman Mary Weir explained the impact on Kelso HC.

“Lockdown caused the adult leagues to be cut short by about a month so, of course, that was an extremely disappointing end to their season,” she said. “But this would, in fact, now be an ‘off season’ for the adults in the club.

“We normally have a social hockey session in the summer term that they can attend, however, if they wish to keep their hockey going through this season.”

All the U18s would normally be focused on exams at this time, said Mary. So, unless involved internationally, they would be doing very little hockey.

“For all our U8s, 10s, 12s, 14s and, to a lesser extent 16s, however, the summer term is packed with tournaments and festivals throughout East District and beyond, so is a massive miss to all these players,” added Mary. “Obviously, training continues during this period for all these players too and is generally much more conducive to learning than the cold winter nights, so again is a huge miss!

“District U14 players have also missed out on their opportunity to train and then represent their district at their Inter-District age group tournament.”

In an effort to keep club members engaged, however, the club has a weekly ‘fitness session’ going out on its Facebook page at the same time as normal club 1s and 2s training, while there is also a weekly bulletin issued earlier in the week, setting challenges for members, plus skills to practise.

“We have had both individual and team challenges and also engaged the whole club in the recent national 2.6 Challenge, raising funds for charity,” said Mary. “The response from a lot of members has been absolutely fantastic but, as there are others who we don’t hear from, it is impossible to gauge the effect that lockdown is having on them.

“As a club, it is hugely disappointing to be stopped in our tracks ,as it were, because with a new and enthusiastic committee this past year, we have been trying hard to move the club forward and have had made significant progress, launching our club website and a range of new kit.

“We have attracted three new sponsors and have increased our membership, particularly on the boys’ side and given them more competitive opportunities to play.

“Our club members also would have had their annual club dinner/awards evening and their own adult and junior tournaments to look forward to.”

Mary added: “We know it is not going to be easy to get everything up and running again and it may well be a slow process. But we will certainly be doing our best to re-engage our members and try hard to pick up again where we left off.

“We are all massively missing our hockey – but completely understand the need to do so in the present circumstances and to follow the advice of Stay Home, Save Lives, Protect the NHS.”