DHUA Update for Clubs

Posted by Paul van Beveren on 9 October 2020


The season has started and we look forward to the regional and local league campaign commencing at the end of the month and supporting our clubs to the best of our ability.

DHUA has been planning for the challenges ahead and how best to cope with them.

  1. Response to the covid restrictions and the EH Return to Play guidelines

The issues are clear in that the covid repercussions will be felt by all of us. It is very likely that amenities will be restricted and therefore games played at unusual times. We would ask clubs to keep us notified of fixture arrangements (times and dates and venues) because changes to the norm will be inevitable. Please do not assume that we know all fixture details…keep an eye on the website and advise us as soon as possible if arrangements change.

With regard to the covid restrictions and the EH “Return to Play” protocols-

We have had a few weeks now of pre-season games and therefore the opportunities to rehearse the expectations that are in place to keep everyone safe in these difficult times. It is clear that clubs and venues have thought things through and put appropriate measures in place. EH have published clear guidelines for everyone to follow.

It is early days as we get used to it all. However, it has become clear that many individuals are not taking enough responsibility for their own actions despite the guidance and regulations in place. The main issue being reported is the lack of regard for social distancing.

DHUA colleagues do not wish to have their own safety compromised by a failure of individuals and groups to comply with the guidance and the restrictions. Umpires are also not the “covid police” and do not wish to be involved in making sure these restrictions are being followed. Umpires are there as participants in the game and should not need to be reminding clubs and individuals about responsibilities that are not directly involved with the match.

So please make sure that all players know what is expected of each of them especially in terms of respecting social distancing. The EH guidance is clear and we do not want to see any Devon club penalised for non-compliance.

Examples of good practice are:

  • waiting outside of the pitch until previous users have vacated the pitch

  • maintaining social distancing in dug outs and as substitutes on the sidelines

  • avoiding hugs and huddles

  • respect guidance at venues regarding one-way systems, numbers in changing rooms, etc.

During a match… umpires have been instructed by England Hockey to respond strongly to any failure of players to adhere to the guidance given to ensure safe play.

  1. Hospitality Awards 2020/21

We will continue with the Hospitality Award Scheme that has been running for a number of seasons. Clearly there may not be the usual post-match hospitality arrangements as in past seasons but there are still all of the opportunities to impress with pre-match information, welcome and appreciation that colleagues will report upon.

  1. Communication

DHUA has set up a contact email. Detail of this has been circulated to clubs. Essentially, this is a “triage” system and 3 senior colleagues (Bob Whitell, Peter Hammond and Matt Reynolds) will access this email address regularly and either deal with the matter or forward it to the person best able to respond. The aim is to spread the number on emails going to any one individual and to be more efficient in responding to club enquiries.

The email address is: dhuacontact@gmail.com

We will trial the contact for a few months and evaluate the outcomes in due course.

  1. Re-structuring of hockey administration

As you will know EH is finalising the plans to re-structure leagues, areas, administration, etc.

Working groups are now looking at the fine detail and the aim is still to bring all of the changes into effect by 2021/22 season.

As things stand there may no longer be a DHUA, or any other HUA, as umpiring structures and other components of administering our sport are adjusted in order to bring consistency and simplified management arrangements into play.

Consequently, this is another challenge that we face…planning for the future and managing the transition process. We will keep in touch with clubs as things begin to become clearer.

  1. DHUA President

Bob Whitell will continue as President until the outcome and timing of re-organisation becomes clear.

DHUA Management Committee 2020/21

  • President: Bob Whitell

  • Chief Coach/Chair of the Selection and Coaching Committee: Peter Hammond

  • Membership Secretary: Denise Aplin

  • Treasurer and DHA representative: Jackie Brooks

  • Webmaster /Appointments Coordinator /Covid officer for DHUA: Matt Reynolds

  • BUCS Appointments Coordinator: Mike Daniel

  • Note-taker for Committee Meetings: Mark Sims

  • Discipline Officer: Sam Tallowin

  • Youth Umpire Development: Neil Barnes (to be confirmed)

  • West Representative: Peter Hammond

  • Devon Forum Representative: Sue Sharland

  • Safeguarding and Welfare: Richard Hill

  • Other Committee Members: Rob Logan, Neil Foster

  • DHA Representative: Dave Chard

  1. Devon Festival 2021

The 2020 Festival was cancelled because of the covid restrictions. We remain hopeful that we will be able to organise a Festival for 2021. A working party is in place and details will be published in the Spring 2021.

  1. Umpire Level 1 Courses

DHUA will no longer take the lead in setting up courses in the manner that we have done so over a number of years. Things have moved on and courses are now available on-line through the England Hockey website. (follow the “Officiating” tab for details)

Clubs can now identify umpire needs and arrange for club members to take part in an on-line course. Once the course is completed the individuals concerned or club UDOs must then advise Denise Aplin, our Membership Secretary, so that we can register each person to Devon and then be in a position to offer mentoring support and arrange assessments to enable the individual to become Level 1 qualified.

And finally…

Our resources are slim. We have members unable to umpire because of injury and illness, some members are not available because of the covid situation and many colleagues are also umpiring at higher levels (West and National Leagues).We are asking clubs to make sure we are well informed of fixtures and arrangements, to appreciate the umpires that are appointed and to recognise that more umpires are required to meet the needs of clubs and their commitments.

We wish to work together with all our clubs to ensure that we all return safely and enthusiastically to the game that we share. We hope that everyone enjoys the season ahead and we look forward to the games to come.

Best regards to all

Bob Whitell

President, Devon HUA October 2020

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