THE return of hockey remains a long way off warned a club official this week.

Newtown Hockey Club spokesman Shelley Jones welcomed the phased return of the sport as part of Welsh Government easing of lockdown restrictions.

However she insisted hockey in the region faced massive challenges due to a shortage of facilities..

Jones said: “There’s a lot to digest for all clubs on the guidance in the first place.

“We are a long way from any form of domestic league hockey.

“Welsh Government guidance will not allow that in the current situation.”

Jones said the region’s lack of facilities only added to problems faced by clubs in their efforts to plan for next season.

Jones said: “Training is restricted but then you have to factor in access to facilities and their guidance and restrictions.

“All leisure facilities are still closed and there will be no normal service when they do reopen and that could potentially influence when we return.

“Welshpool still don’t have a pitch and that is not a priority for Freedom Leisure or Powys County Council at the moment.

“However it’s a massive concern for Mid Wales hockey to only have one suitable hockey pitch.”

Jones insisted the club would not rush back and would continue to follow Welsh Government guidelines.

She said: “The club will be proactive but not rushing to ensure all guidance and practices are followed.”

“We are desperate to get back to some sort of normality but we are a way off that yet.”

Elsewhere Radnor Ladies Hockey Club also welcomed a gradual return to action.

However club spokesman Elin Wozencraft warned against hopes of an immediate return to action.

She insisted hockey in the region may not return before Christmas due to ongoing restrictions.

Radnor play in the South Wales Women’s League at Llandrindod Wells Leisure Centre.

Wozencraft said: “Clubs are looking forward to following and adhering to the advice from the Welsh Government and Hockey Wales about the return of the sport.

“It would be great to see the restart of the season before Christmas but we must be mindful that outbreaks can and will happen if we are not careful.”

A spokesman for Powys County Council said the authority would continue to follow Welsh Government guidelines:

He said”We understand that ‘outdoor courts’ have been allowed to open, but all leisure providers and councils are still seeking clarity from Welsh Government about outdoor pitches.