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Long Sutton and Spalding Hockey Clubs accept leagues' decision to end the season early




South Holland's two clubs have accepted a decision by the East Region Hockey Leagues to end the season "with immediate effect".

A decision by the leagues' management committee was made public on Thursday after the last round of games were played five days earlier.

Long Sutton and Spalding's men's and ladies' term either had one or two games left, with the season originally meant to end by March 29.

Spalding ladies’ 1sts playing Saffron Walden 1sts at Glen Park in Division 2NW.Photo: SG-080220-059TW.
Spalding ladies’ 1sts playing Saffron Walden 1sts at Glen Park in Division 2NW.Photo: SG-080220-059TW.

But a statement from league secretary Neil Liversedge said that "to delay the conclusion of this season would have a serious impact on organising the league for the 2020/21 season".

Lorraine Wallis, chairman of Long Sutton Hockey Club, said: "We at Long Sutton take our hockey as seriously as anybody.

"However, there are times when such things have to take second place to the needs of the wider community.

Lorraine Wallis, chairman of Long Sutton Hockey Club.Photo by Tim Wilson.SG-150320-078TW.
Lorraine Wallis, chairman of Long Sutton Hockey Club.Photo by Tim Wilson.SG-150320-078TW.

"We totally support the decision made and, in these scary times for us all, we would wish to extend our good wishes to the whole hockey family, our wider community and anyone whose life has been affected in these unprecedented times.

"Sport has always been an important part of society and it will be equally important in helping to build a feel-good factor as we try to return to some form of normality.

"Long Sutton Hockey Club look forward to helping in building that feel-good factor within in our local community."

Elaine Allen, chairman of Spalding Hockey Club, said: "Along with millions of sports players and fans across the globe, Spalding Hockey Club members are hugely disappointed at having their season curtailed prematurely.

Elaine Allen. chairman of Long Sutton Hockey Club. (32374964)
Elaine Allen. chairman of Long Sutton Hockey Club. (32374964)

"Spalding Hockey Club runs eight senior teams, five men’s and three women’s, in the East Region Hockey Leagues and so well over 100 players were denied games last weekend and for the foreseeable future.

"England Hockey, along with other sports governing bodies across the country, decided last week that all hockey should cease with immediate effect in an effort to contain the coronavirus.

"The club is in full agreement with the East Region Hockey Leagues’ management decision to suspend the leagues for this season."

Long Sutton 1sts, playing Dereham 2nds in Division 2N, are in danger of relegation.Photo: SG-070320-048TW.
Long Sutton 1sts, playing Dereham 2nds in Division 2N, are in danger of relegation.Photo: SG-070320-048TW.

Mr Liversedge confirmed that a "percentage points" system would be used to decide the final league positions, with promotion and relegation to be finalised after Easter.

"We realise this decision will not please some, however, the situation we are in is a first in the history of the East League, or any regional League in the country," Mr Liversedge said.

"To simply leave the season open until we can play again would have a severe impact on the planning for next season."


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