SPORT across Rotherham is bracing itself for a hard winter as the region struggles with a second wave of Covid-19 infections.
Tennis, hockey, football and rugby have already been hit by South Yorkshire’s move into Tier 3 of lockdown restrictions which could last into the new year.
Restrictions on movement between different Tier areas is also restricting the ability of teams to fulfil fixtures while some are having to cancel either because of positive coronavirus tests or self-isolation.
The pandemic has impacted on the Saturday and Sunday football calendar, with Central Midlands League clubs Dinnington Town and Phoenix forced to postpone matches this weekend.
Maltby Main are having to struggle through with depleted numbers while two Rotherham Sunday League clubs, Homestead and AFC Jockey, have taken the opportunity to pause their fixtures in the light of current pressures.
Mindful of the disrupted months to come, the league has also relaxed its decision to allow individual divisions free weekends through the rest of the 2020/21 campaign.
A full programme will run each week from the end of next month to give the competition more of a chance of running to completion.
In hockey, Rotherham teams’ matches against teams from outside Tier 3 were cancelled last week while the Sheffield and District Lawn Tennis Association has had to add three weeks to the end of the season.
Rugby is another sport suffering.
With no competitive matches allowed, junior and senior grassroots players are restricted to training and that is leading to fears youngsters will drift away from the sport.
One parent told the Advertiser: “We’ve already lost several players to football who quite rightly want to play the sport, not just train for a year.”