AS amateur sports clubs in Helensburgh and across Scotland anxiously await advice on how and when they might be allowed to resume training and playing matches, the area’s hockey players have been doing their level best to keep the sport vibrant – and keep members of their squad busy.

The ladies of Loch Lomond Hockey Club, along with other men’s, women’s and mixed clubs across Scotland, have signed up to Scottish Hockey’s ‘Club Pledge’ to boost morale during the lockdown.

Players from Loch Lomond’s first and second teams have taken part in regular online meetings, club social events and charity challenges – and have profiled the players who, when they’re not on the hockey field, work on the front line to keep the country safe, healthy and supplied with essentials.

Eliza Ritchie from LLHC said: “It was a no brainer for us to join the club pledge. Prior to joining we were trying to keep up with each other and there were Zoom fitness classes also.

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“Following the initiative has focussed us - we run regular social events each Friday which mean we see our club members from both teams.

“It is also great fun.

“It’s been great to see so many other clubs joining and to follow what they are doing.

“One of the first things we did was highlight our front line workers. We are really proud of the work they do and wanted to celebrate them with our club members and the wider community.

“They are working so hard under difficult circumstances and don’t have the release that hockey brings.”

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The club also held a Q&A session with local hockey legend Nicki Skrastin, a former pupil of Rhu Primary and Lomond School, who has 36 caps for Scotland and featured in the national squads for the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Eliza continued: “It was great to have a Q&A with a former member and Scottish hockey international. We invited other clubs to join the call and took questions in advance.

“It was a great turnout and Nicki’s answers gave us all a huge insight into her hockey career and some great tips to apply to our own development.

“Questions also included how exactly she ended up being painted on a wall in Partick to her favourite ice cream.

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“Her input was particularly valuable to the younger members; she is a great role model.

“It was fabulous to hear how she is dealing with fitness during the lockdown – it gave us motivation and inspiration.

“Biggest thanks to Nicki for an entertaining evening.”

The men of Helensburgh Hockey Club have also signed up to the Club Pledge.

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