Scorpions confident of strong return amid uncertain future
- Credit: Skaters Scorpions
They were looking forward to some major plans for the 2020-21 season, but for one rink hockey club, it is uncertain whether they can return to the sport they love.
Skaters Scorpions were preparing to field a senior team for the first time in their history since forming in 2015, with some junior players eyeing a place in the Eastern Counties squad.
But those targets set by the club from Walpole Highway near Wisbech were scuppered as the UK was plunged into lockdown, halting the season and, perhaps more importantly, enjoyment.
“It was devastating for the club when the country went into lockdown, but we were hopeful that we would quickly get back to tournaments and finish the season,” Julie Fraser, secretary at Skaters Scorpions, said.
“No one would have predicted that the first lockdown would mean no tournaments would be played.”
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Once restrictions were eased, head coach Harry Southgate led fitness training at a nearby playground between June and August, before returning to full training from September until Christmas excluding the November lockdown.
For Fraser, who has three children who play for Skaters, feels these sessions proved vital for their mental health, even if they could not play matches.
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“They are gutted they can no longer play,” she said.
“It’s a worrying time for rink hockey. I know some from another club left because when we came back to training, the kids could not play games, which is what the sport is all about.”
Skaters have achieved league success with their under 11s and under 13s teams, while players up to under 15s have been selected for regional trials and England training.
Coaches and players have kept in touch while trying to fundraise for the club, but although she is unsure how many will return, Fraser is confident of a strong response.
“The coaches were looking forward to entering a senior team, but that has been scrapped and we don’t know when and if it will start up again,” she said.
“I am sure we have a lot of committed players at the club and a great venue at Skaters, so we are looking forward to this lockdown being over.
“Our venue has to reopen for us to play and I know as a business, it was not getting the numbers through the door, but we are hopeful that it will reopen as soon as it can.”