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Diss Hockey Club set to join East Region Hockey League as part of England Hockey restructure

Diss Hockey Club have no major concerns regarding their switch to the East Region Hockey League.

The team has always been associated with the Norfolk Hockey League, and has most recently been playing in the Premier Division.

However, under a planned England Hockey restructure ahead of the 2021/20 season getting under way in September, clubs currently under the Norfolk umbrella will be ‘absorbed’ into the East Region set-up.

Diss Ladies will be playing in the East League next season. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Diss Ladies will be playing in the East League next season. Picture: Mark Bullimore

East League secretary Neil Liversedge said in a statement: “England Hockey are resolving issues with the last half-a-dozen clubs and then we know exactly what clubs will be in the new East area and then we will start to plan for the new season.

“The season will see the Men’s and Women’s teams playing under the same league structure for the first time with (1 Premier Division, 2 x Div 1 divisions and then 4 x Division 2s in quadrant format) and we will welcome the Norfolk Ladies League who will be absorbed into the East League.

“Due to the clubs/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.

“There will be more comms in due course so that we can say goodbye to clubs we will be losing (for instance all of the Kent Ladies will be moving to the new South-East area).”

For Diss, the switch is not likely to see a drastic change, in terms of opponents or travelling.

Team manager Lindsay Cates said: “This was first mentioned a few seasons ago.

“It will be a shame to leave the Norfolk League. It’s a good league and we get a say in the rules and regulations, which is a good thing.

“We will probably lose that now, but we don’t really have an option.

“There may be a couple of teams leave the league and maybe some more Suffolk-based sides put in it, but my understanding is that it will be very similar to what we are already used to.

“Hopefully it will be a smooth transition for all the clubs.”

Cates also feels it was the right decision to scrap the 2020/21 campaign, despite the government allowing the sport to return from March 29, data permitting, as part of the ‘Roadmap out of Lockdown’.

She added: “I was pleased with the null and void decision. We’d only played eight league games but some clubs had played four.

“There was never going to be enough time to get the league finished.

“It was tough even when we were playing. With all of the regulations to keep people safe it was hard. We are a small club and we had to pay out money on signs, sanitation stations, that sort of thing.

“My daughter, who plays, is type 1 diabetic and we have another player with asthma and they, understandably, were not keen to play – it was becoming difficult to raise a team at times. Hopefully the vaccine keeps getting rolled out and we can come back in September with things a bit more normal.”

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