Throughout July and August, the club has been working hard to return our members to Hockey activity in a safe and supportive manner. At present the Men’s Performance Squad are back into training at Sport Wales, operating at phase 4 of the RTP Model for Hockey in Wales. The quantity of international athletes has resulted in special dispensation by Hockey Wales to return to competitive training and match play from September onwards.
Further progress in facility provision at Sport Wales, means that the Men’s Club training session, for players in M2 – M5 returns on Thursday 3rd September, from 18.00. The return to play coordinated by Men’s COVID-19 Officer Paul Edwards and newly appointed Men’s Club Coach Jack Rhys-Brown, has yielded great interest and is likely to see its largest attendance in many years, which is great news for the men’s senior club teams.
At Cyncoed, the Club has been liaising with Cardiff Met Sport to facilitate a slightly more complicated RTP process, dictated by the Cardiff Met Sport and Cardiff Met University. In late august an initial group of 30 Ladies’ players were able to return to play on Monday and Thursday evenings. Well-organised and implemented safety procedures by Cardiff Met Sport have enabled an additional group of 30 ladies’ players to return to training. Throughout September a training group of 30 will participate on Mondays (primarily L1 & 2), followed by a separate 30-strong player group on Thursdays (L3, 4 & New members). As the University confirms facility requirements of the academic timetable and student sport, we anticipate a further modification to the training schedule at the end of September.
BUCS pre-season begins for the Men’s and Ladies’ performance squads in September, with Head Coaches Ieuan Davies and Alf Dinnie preparing the players for the first season where both Men’s and Ladies’ teams compete in the National Premier League. Both squads will benefit from the healthy intake of first year students who will reinforce the quality and depth of the squads. Meanwhile, we eagerly anticipate the return of the wider BUCS players late in September and into October as fresher’s week commences on Monday 28th September.
Work continues to return the Junior Academy to training in September/October as staff members work through operational plans, risk assessments, staff training and liaise with VCEG & the University Health and Safety committee, who are implementing a phased return to Campus. We would like to reinforce that we are taking necessary steps in conjunction with Cardiff Met Sport to get the Junior Academy back on the pitch as part of a safe campus environment and will update our members as progress is made.
We are pleased that we have been able to facilitate a return to hockey for around 180 members in September, which comprises the vast majority of our membership. As government, NGB and facility guidance changes over coming weeks and students return, you may experience some minor changes in session times, duration, activities permitted and quantity of participants in attendance. This may result in further access to training and competition environments or backwards steps if these are necessary to keep our community safe.
An update from Hockey Wales has advised of a move to ‘PHASE 3 adapted contact hockey activities’. Guidance for clubs, coaches and players can be found using the below links. Meanwhile, the Welsh Government continues to dictate a maximum of 30 persons, inclusive of staff and coaches per training session.
The overarching intention remains to ensure a safe return to play for all members in line with current and changing NGB, Government and facility provider guidance, which may result in some minor changes in training day, time and duration to provide pitch access for all members. Following this, coaches will be working to ensure appropriate preparations for respective league seasons. At present, league seasons are due to start as outlined in the August RTP Update.
We appreciate and thank you for your ongoing patience, support and proactivity in adopting the new and necessary steps to allow a safe return to Hockey. If you are interested in helping the club to continue the return to play, progress towards competitive fixtures or lend a hand with general day-to-day tasks associated with club life, please do contact us, as we would love you to be involved.
Meanwhile we hope you are all safe, maintaining your personal health & fitness and enjoying being back on the pitch.
Mark Shelton – Men’s Chairperson
Ffion Robinson – Ladies Chairperson