View from Rotherham sports clubs as pandemic re-tightens its grip on the grassroots

View from Rotherham sports clubs as pandemic re-tightens its grip on the grassroots

By David Beddows | 14/01/2021

View from Rotherham sports clubs as pandemic re-tightens its grip on the grassroots

THIS recent announcement of a third national lockdown was greeted with frustration and realism from people in grassroots sports — and Rotherham was no different. The Advertiser has been canvassing opinions ...

Steve Gaines, Rotherham Harriers

This latest lockdown is another step back but we haven't really got a choice. The risks from Covid are worse than they have been for some time.

We had been training and it had been going well. We have had 40 or so training nights with attendance varying between 60 and 100. 

We have also been running a Covid app containing pre-activity questions confirming they were OK to attend training.

Since we resumed training at Herringthorpe Stadium on September 7, we've had 3,000 people log onto the system and to my knowledge we have not had a (Covid) transfer at the club at all during that period.

It is very difficult to keep young people apart when they start back. They just want to get as close as they chat away but it doesn't appear there is a risk outside in my conclusion.

We have had people who have ceased coming to the club but they haven't spread it to any of their other “bubble” partners who have been training. 

Jackie Woodhouse, Rotherham Hawks

I think it will be difficult to have a junior season this year.

Basketball England have tried their best. We were just about to play our first game when the last lockdown happened in November. 

The season was postponed until the end of this month but if we are locked down for the whole of January then the kids won't be ready to play.

Last season was going to be a late start, starting in November, and maybe they just have to push for that for next season but there is no way they will be able to cram a season in safely.

With any luck, enough people will have been vaccinated to make it almost viable.

Before, we trained outdoors at Oakwood School but at the moment it is just too cold and schools are closed at the moment anyway.

I have to say we have been very impressed with the numbers at the club who have stayed with us.

They were really good at sticking to the rules and regulations and the protocols we put in place and we have had a lot of support from parents. They are really happy with the way we have run things and how safe we have made it for the kids.

We have told our members to keep practising as best they can and we will see them again as soon as we can.


Wayne Coyle, Swallownest FC

While the latest pause is disappointing, it is understandable.

It is going to cause us some challenges for the season but there are bigger issues at the moment and it is becoming more and more of a challenge not only for us to deliver football games but to deliver them in a safe way for everyone.

I know there are tough decisions about leagues to be made but as a football club we will  be happy to look at alternative formats to get games up and running again if we can, although that doesn't look like it will be for another six weeks or so.


Richard Bee, the Advertiser’s golf  correspondent

I work in the industry as a greenkeeper and I am not for golf courses being shut. I want to play.

But I think if you allowed golf (during lockdown) then where do you draw a line as regards other sports?

If you draw it at the top and say 'no, no, no, no, no' rather than 'yes, no, yes,' then there is no comeback.

I think it is unfortunate golf has stopped but I hope that members stand by their clubs and are understanding as regards membership fees etc because it is not golf clubs' fault this has happened. Golf clubs have to survive.

At the end of this there will be golf. We just have to accept the situation for the time being.


James Thomas, Rotherham Hockey Club

We are now unable to run any hockey sessions until the lockdown ends. While this is of course disappointing, what is important is that we all stay safe.

As we will be reaching the end of the usual season dates by the time we can likely return, we are currently assessing what we can do regarding paid membership fees. Additionally we are planning to deliver an enhanced summer hockey programme to keep us playing hockey.


John McGleave, Moorgate Tennis Club


The start of 2021 promised a return to normal but the reality, from a tennis point of view, was somewhat different, with the weather making the courts unplayable.

Just as the weather promised better things and with the start of the Sheffield and District Winter League season just days away, we were hit with the not unexpected news that Lockdown 3 was upon us.

It seems strange that we can all meet someone from another household for exercise but we can't do it in a socially distanced situation on the opposite sides of a tennis net.

We appreciate that exceptions are not going to be made, but it is deeply frustrating.

The next seven weeks will be spent preparing for what comes next, with the hope that the vaccine rollout will go smoothly.