East Hockey League voids season but some clubs to continue as part of England Hockey's restructure

Guy Flynn (second from left) and George Pitfield (right) in action for Saffron Walden Hockey Club

The men's first team at Saffron Walden could continue despite the East Hockley League being declared void for this season. - Credit: SWHC

The East Hockey League has opted to pull the plug on the 2020-21 season - although not for all clubs. 

A committee meeting of the league's management agreed that the only divisions with anything riding on the outcome was the Women's Premier Division and the Men's Premier A Division. 

Action from St Albans Hockey Club's second team

St Albans Hockey Club's second team are one of those who could carry on this year. - Credit: CHRIS HOBSON WEDDINGS

This is because England Hockey are continuing with their plan to expand the National League at the end of the current campaign and still wish to "take two teams from our top women's and men's divisions". 

It means clubs such as Saffron Walden, Letchworth and St Albans will all have teams in action, at least for a few weeks. 

Alex Wareham comes away with the ball for Letchworth Hockey Club

Letchworth Hockey Club's men are another who could continue their league campaign this season. - Credit: DANNY LOO

Each affected club has been contacted to ascertain whether there is an appetite to return to action. 

No club will be forced to play and the league are planning to ensure that the minimum requirement of each team playing each other once is met. 

Secretary of the East League, Neil Liversedge, said: "For the remaining divisions, it was agreed that the season would be terminated with immediate effect. 

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"The feedback we have had from clubs is that there is an appetite to play hockey but they didn't want to be tied to a perceived tightness that a league fixture may bring. 

"We encourage clubs, teams and players to take every opportunity to get out on the pitch and play hockey but we also recognise that clubs may take the opportunity to run fun club specific activities to suit their membership.

"[This] season has been enormously difficult and we thank all clubs and their administrators for their open ears, opinion and advice, where that advice has been constructive."

England Hockey are also making changes to the various areas and it will mean a slightly different look for the league next year, with the Norfolk Ladies League being absorbed for one.

Liversedge added: "England Hockey are resolving issues with the last half-a-dozen clubs and then we will know exactly what clubs will be in the new East area and can start to plan for the new season.

"Due to the clubs and teams being lost and extra teams going up to the National League we can pretty much guarantee that there will be no perceived relegations and we expect that more clubs will be seen as being promoted."

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