The end of a busy working week for most of us, and fingers crossed a game of hockey at the weekend to look forward to.

As you run out onto the pitch tomorrow, please take a moment to think of everyone who has helped get the game you are playing in to go ahead.  In normal times that might mean the groundsman, the fixture secretary, the umpires and their coordiantor and some opposition.

This week our Covid Officer (Hannah Fisk) and her able deputy (Ellie Pritchard) have worked tirelessly to make sure we are up to speed with requirements to be able to provide covid-compliant hockey – training and matches.  Both of them are also junior doctors with Hannah working long days this week and Ellie leading the discussion on 2 Zoom calls to discuss our plan of attack to be ready for the weekend.  This is a thankless role (unless you thank them of course), with new information coming through all the time, guidance from the Government, England Hockey and the North and Yorkshire HAs as well as Leeds CC and AWMA considerations.  Trying to decipher, interpret, agree what to do and then implement is a full time job in itself.

Thanks to those who joined both zoom calls this week, with special mention to Si Law for bringing his knowledge from the day job to the meeting and making us up our game to try and limit the risk at the pitch area.  The 25 or so  who joined on Monday ranged from veterans like David Margerison and Ian Phillips through to junior parents and helpers like Dan Greer and Helen Slinger.  Somewhere in between we had a mix of players, committee members and injured players keen to try and see what needed doing for spectators to be able to watch.  The Covid Sub Committee meeting on Wednesday (me, Ian Phillips, Gaby, Greg, Ellie and Luke Meaton) decided that our focus this week had to be on ensuring maximum compliance and safety for training nights and playing matches this weekend rather than spectators.

Gary Johnson and Nick Pink from EH have either provided messages of support or answered our questions, as have Peter Cocker and Peter Richardson from the North HA and then Bev Deakin and Jon Bray from the YHA Committee.  Without having them available as sounding boards, and to benefit from their wider experience, our approach may have taken a lot longer.

Your coaches this week have continued to work hard to run training sessions with limiting factors on numbers, drills etc to comply with social distancing and group sizes.  Lucy Horsfield, Will Powley, Si Law, Martin Sutherland, Jane Goode, Alice Bowler, Pam Hardaker, Giles Primmer and the rest of the junior coaches continue to keep the club going during the midweek period.  Judging by the number of bibs that seem to go through my washing machine on a daily basis, numbers attending are at the maximum levels!

When you visit the pitch next, you may spot some changes.  President Ian Phillips has adopted the role of the Leeds “Banksy” and been up at the pitch with me today to reinforce the actions needed when there.  Benches have had hazard tape added to ensure safe distancing as substitutes have a well earned rest.  The path and the fencing barriers have been spray painted and taped to do likewise and the QR codes and sanitisers are in place for you to use to check in.

And finally, perhaps most importantly for some of you, Jane Goode and James Moorhouse have kindly volunteered to support the bar staff on Saturday afternoon with the Track and Tracing and enforcement of the AWMA bar rules, all of which need to be observed so you can have your post match pint.

Some of you reading this might spot that your name is not included – if I have forgotten you and you have been involved, please accept my apologies, its been a hectic week.  But if you have managed to have a game and not done anything to get us to that stage then perhaps you might like to think about what you could offer next week as these challenges are not going to go away in a hurry.

Enjoy your games…..

Mark