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England Hockey approve the reopening of pitches under government social distancing guidelines

England Hockey have given the green light for clubs to reopen their pitches.

The game’s national governing body have issued guidelines to their clubs following the government’s new lockdown measures announced earlier this month.

Canterbury Hockey Club will be back open for members this weekend Picture: Alan Langley
Canterbury Hockey Club will be back open for members this weekend Picture: Alan Langley

All hockey activity was suspended on March 17 and with many teams having only one or two games remaining of the season, all leagues cancelled their remaining games.

Canterbury Hockey Club are allowing members to book half a pitch under those new guidelines as from tomorrow (Saturday).

The main clubhouse at Polo Farm will remain closed and the club have told members: “Usage will be carefully monitored and if our facility is abused or folks do not think that booking requirements apply to them then we will close the facility.

“Stay Safe and enjoy the gradual return to hockey.”

England Hockey’s guidelines say that two players from different households can play under social distancing guidelines.

One-to-one sessions involving a coach and a player from different households under social distancing guidelines is also permitted, as is the case with sports such as golf and tennis.

One household can play together as a small group.

England Hockey say: “We encourage the fantastic ‘hockey at home’ initiatives that we have seen throughout the last two months to continue.

“Please be aware that this guidance may change as the circumstances change. In particular, we are still seeking clarification from government on arrangements for one-to-one coaching of young people given the need for a parent/guardian to be present.

On a professional level, England Hockey say they will not be asking their GB international players to return to training at Bisham Abbey.

They said: “We are monitoring the advice offered by the government and looking at a phased return to training for the senior international squads as soon as is appropriate.

“England Hockey will continue to follow both government and Public Health England advice.

“Timings of any changes to the circumstances for hockey will always be led by government advice during the Covid-19 restrictions. Whilst these are the first steps for returning to play, we would encourage everyone to firstly consider the health of themselves and others.”

Kent Hockey have said fixtures for next season will be based on a September resumption to hockey, but this will clearly need to be reviewed as the summer progresses.

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