02:15PM, Wednesday 05 August 2020
While football fans around the country have been able to enjoy the Premier League on TV as lockdown restrictions are relaxed, amateurs and juniors have been forced to wait patiently before lacing up their boots.
That wait ended on Saturday, though, following the FA’s decision to allow competitive grassroots football to resume at the start of August.
To celebrate the resumption of play, Cookham Dean under-nines hosted Burnham Juniors under-nines in a friendly seven-a-side match at Alfred Major Recreation Ground, Cookham, on Saturday.
The match was not quite business as usual, however, as players and spectators had to observe strict measures to reduce the threat of COVID-19.
A hand sanitising station was set up beside the pitch and all those involved in the match, including spectators, had to clean their hands when they arrived and before they left the area.
The ball, goal posts and corner flags were also disinfected before the game started, after it finished and during half time, and the players clapped at the end instead of shaking hands.
The team also got a chance to wear their new kit, which included a ‘Thank you NHS’ message on the front, in place of a kit sponsor. This new kit was paid for by coaches Matthew Cray-thorne and Mark Bradley.
Laura Craythorne, who helped organise the event, said: “The kids were proud and excited to play their first game and wear their new kit as well.
“They were just so happy and all the parents said how grateful they were to be back playing and with their friends after all this time.”
Cookham Dean under-nines hope to hold another friendly match next month, she added.
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