This is just a quick note to tell you that the East League Management Committee has reached a decision on concluding the 2020/21 season and agreeing the promotion places to the expanded EHL for season 2021-22.
Despite having 7 teams from both of the existing Premier Divisions deciding they would like to complete a minimum league season with everyone playing once, it is clear that the final stages of any competition had to be played safely and as a minimum in line with Level 5 of England Hockey's Return to Play program and with clear guidance regarding travelling safely involving car sharing.
Following the announcement by the Government made on Monday and following advice received from England Hockey yesterday there is no change to the Car Share guidelines. An excerpt of the England Hockey statement to Regional Leagues is given below:
"Car sharing now is not expected to be permitted for sport until at least Step 3 of the Governments Roadmap, no earlier than 17 May.
With travel being such an important part of making competition accessible and inclusive for so many, England Hockey recommends that Step 4 of our original Covid-19 Roadmap continues to be followed."
Therefore the Mr Cricket Hockey East League Mens Premier A and Women's Premier Division for the 2020/21 season shall be declared null and void.
The East League Management Committee saw it as essential that any competition for promotion to the EHL should be subject to a level playing field for all competing teams. This includes pitch, changing facilities, toilets and player availability, as well as the end of the ban on car sharing and that is currently not possible.
To make a minimum season, where every team played each other once would have involved a 4-week playing program and with the earliest possible playing date being late in May the timing is unrealistic and beyond the latest play-by date(s) set by a majority of the clubs and certainly outside the recommended season end date off England Hockey of 16th May.
Whilst the East League Management Committee recognises that some teams will be disappointed we think, when taking all of these factors into consideration, that we have come to both the right and the logical decision. We have repeatedly tried to ensure that the season by resolved on field, but we have seemingly been beaten at each hurdle through this season.
To determine the teams going from the East Men's Premier A and Women's Premier Division into the EHL, the East League Management Committee has agreed to follow the advice provided by England Hockey in regard to closing the season without the requisite number of games being played (guidance already followed by the West Women's League, the South Wales and South West Men's League, the South Women's League and both the North Men's and Women's League League).
This looked at the league table following the conclusion of the 2019/20 season and ranking the teams in the Premier Divisions with those teams relegated from the EHL ranked highest and those teams promoted into the division from a lower division being ranked lowest.
We are therefore pleased to announce that from the Mr Cricket Hockey East Men's Premier A Division Bedford and Cambridge University Men and from the Women's Premier Division Broxbourne 1st X1 and Ipswich 1st X1 shall be promoted back to the England Hockey National League.
Lastly, in making this announcement can I say thank you to all of your Club Officers who have worked tirelessly to make any play this season possible and I also pay tribute to my fellow East League Management Committee League Managers who again have tried so hard to support your clubs in making play possible.
Let's hope we can take part in the 2021/22 season in a safe environment, where hockey can once again be enjoyed by all.
Best Regards (and please stay safe and stay well),
East League Secretary