DUNFERMLINE Carnegie Hockey Club are hoping they can return to the field before the year is out.

The club, based at Woodmill High School, have been left frustrated after an historic season for their men’s first team was put on hold.

In July it was announced they had been promoted to Scottish Hockey’s Premiership for the first time in the club’s history after National League Two was decided on a points-per-game basis.

The game’s governing body aimed to start play on October 3, and then October 17, but this didn’t happen and now, due to new virus restrictions, competitions will take the form of temporary, local conferences, where teams play opposition similar to them based on previous ranking.

The season will run until December but, for now, the Premiership and other leagues are on hold, while no promotion or relegation places will be awarded based on the conferences.

Dunfermline Carnegie men’s firsts were placed in Men’s East Conference A alongside Edinburgh University, Erskine Stewart’s Melville, Grange, Inverleith and The Watsonian Hockey Club. The seconds are in Conference C with Edinburgh Hockey Club, Edinburgh University 3s, Erskine Stewart’s Melville 2s and The Watsonian Hockey Club 3s.

However, because of greater restrictions in Lothian and four other health boards, they are still waiting for the green light to play matches.

Gordon Johnston, club development officer, explained: “We would play mainly other Premiership clubs in the Edinburgh area, which is not too bad because it involves several very big clubs like Grange, Edinburgh University, Inverleith and Watsonians.

“They’re four big clubs who are all at a standard that we are aspiring towards. It hasn’t worked out too bad for us but it means we won’t get a full go at the Premiership. I don’t know if they’re waiting until the New Year to see what happens, but there must be some doubts as to whether there will be any actual season this year, or whether they start it late and let it run a bit longer.

“It’s been unfortunate but we’re reasonably lucky that we could end up, at the top end of the club, playing a handful of clubs from the Edinburgh area.

“It could be helpful in the medium to longer term. We’d still like to take part in the Premiership but, if that’s not going to happen, this is the next best option.

“I think we can say that Scottish Hockey have tried hard to sort that out in a reasonable way given the restrictions placed on them.”

It had been hoped that local district hockey, for both men’s and ladies, would resume this Saturday but Gordon added that their youth programme has been able to resume in part, while as many as 11 new ladies have joined.

Scottish Hockey said the indoor season would not start until January at the earliest. CEO, David Sweetman, said: “This will be Scottish Hockey’s most challenging season. Covid-19 will still be with us and we must all do what we can to deliver a good level of competitive activity as safely as possible, following all guidelines. Although there isn’t a perfect solution that’s ideal for all clubs, we’ve engaged and worked hard to find the best solution available at this time. “