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Third national lockdown thwarts hopes of rugby clubs playing competitive matches

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Plans for a new county-wide rugby competition that was due to start this weekend have been put on hold again.

Stamford, Bourne, Deepings and Stamford College Old Boys were all set to make their return to competitive action against their fellow Lincolnshire rivals.

However, following the Government’s decision to introduce a third national lockdown, all the matches have been postponed.

Stamford’s planned match against Spalding this weekend has been postponed following the third national lockdown.
Stamford’s planned match against Spalding this weekend has been postponed following the third national lockdown.

Clubs have also been forced to close their doors following Rugby Football Union directives to cancel any upcoming training and fixtures.

Stamford had been due to play Spalding in their opening fixture on Saturday which was then followed by a trip to Kesteven next weekend.

A club statement said: “It has certainly been a year that we won’t forget. The senior lads finished the season as champions but haven’t played a match since.

“The minis and juniors started playing, then stopped playing, then started again but have stopped again.

“But, out of all this chaos, one thing has shone through and that’s the support which everyone has all shown for our great club.

“Parents, players, volunteers, coaches and kids have all shown understanding when games get cancelled at the last minute to getting membership paid and we thank them all.

“We don’t know what 2021 will bring but we know as a club we are a community to help and support and we will go into the New Year hoping we can put the gum guards in, tighten the boots and do the thing we love - play rugby.”

Bourne had been due to entertain near neighbours Deepings on Saturday.

Their statement said: “Unfortunately the third national lockdown means we cannot run any training or activities at the club for the foreseeable future. Despite the best efforts of many, we’re afraid matters are simply out of our hands.

Oakham and Bourne have yet to play any competitive matches this season.
Oakham and Bourne have yet to play any competitive matches this season.

“All we can say is that the club will review the situation just as soon as there is a chance. We hope everyone will stay safe and hope 2021 brings better prospects and, at last, some rugby.”

Rutland-based Oakham have also been unable to play any competitive matches this season with the Rugby Football Union cancelling the league campaigns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That curtailed any hopes Oakham had of building on a cracking campaign last term where they regained promotion to Midlands 2 East (South) as runners-up to Stamford.

But, despite the lack of match action, president Chris Burton has praised the overwhelming support that the Rutlanders have received during an unprecedented campaign.

He said: “I thought there was some optimism in August of this year that we were on the road to recovery from this awful pandemic but how wrong can one be.

“There was some light on the horizon rugby-wise last month with the green light over amended laws to reduce areas of contact should clubs wish to.

“However, as you can appreciate, it was not straightforward with restrictions on moving between tiers complicating the issue.

“I would like to put on record though my gratitude to our hard-working committee and other volunteers who continue to do a sterling job in steering our club through these unprecedented times.

“This of course would not be possible without the continued financial support from our vice-presidents, members and sponsors by way of subscriptions and sponsorship money.

“We have been overwhelmed by the level of support we have received and would like to thank everyone most sincerely.

“I do hope that before the end of this current season we will be able to meet at the club once again and watch some excellent rugby with family, friends and opposition alike.”

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