"We’re just looking forward to getting going again"

After months of checking the news for updates, sports clubs across the county are gearing up to get going again on March 29.

Sudbrook Moor team player, Nigel Corby, teeing off in an Inter-Club match in summer 2020.

With safety on their side as their sports are played outside, outdoor sports are able to recommence at the end of this month and the clubs are deep into preparations to allow their members to return safely.

While the government has encouraged people to exercise outdoors daily, the running community has been pounding the pavements to keep fitness levels up until they can train together again.

Boston Community Runners spokesman Sarah Burton said that the club's format will suit the government's guidelines on distancing and the rule of six:

One of Boston Community Runners' map art.

“Our first session back will be on Tuesday March 30 and we will meet outdoors in the car park and split into groups of up to six, which suits us because we normally split people up according to ability and it’ll help our members get back into the swing of things.

“We’ve actually acquired 15 new members during lockdown as they’ve seen our members running around their areas in their club t-shirts and they’ve decided to take up running.”

To keep their members engaged and active during lockdown, the club set them a variety of challenges over the last 12 months, including running art where runners use their GPS trackers to create images on the map on their phones, as well as handicap challenges to beat their personal bests and scavenger hunts.

“We’ve tried to keep everyone going during lockdown and now we’re just looking forward to getting going again,” Sarah said.

One of Boston Community Runner's map art.

The members of Sudbrook Moor Golf Club near Sleaford have sorely missed their golf-related exercise, fresh air and the companionship that golf affords.

The club is now preparing to reopen on March 29 and the proprietors Tim and Judith Hutton and head greenkeeper have been working non-stop to keep the course maintained, with all other staff furloughed.

To keep members safe, Tim said that the clubhouse, golf shop and changing facilities will be closed and golfers must pre-book and arrive and play at eight minute intervals, as well as adhering to all the usual required safety measures, like hand sanitiser stations, available.

Tim said: "With such a massive ignition and interest in golf, following the first lockdown in spring 2020, the Sudbrook Moor membership has filled with new and renewing golfers. As the 2021 membership is now full, it will be closed to new members for the remainder of this year."

Horncastle Tennis Club

The club’s PGA Professional, Ben Hutton, will also resume his 1-1 and small group coaching and is currently developing a new swing studio, in readiness for the new season.

Horncastle & District Tennis Club is run by a committee of volunteers, and treasurer and administrator Shirley Sutton said the group can't wait to get back on the court on March 29.

“Tennis is a socially distanced sport with a net between you and your opponent, you don’t even have to be close to your partner if you’re playing doubles so it’s a safe sport," she said.

“The club has had government funding to keep us afloat and the full-time coaches have had self-employed funding, but we are concerned about our part time coaches who haven’t had any help.”

Louth Cricket Club is preparing to reopen. (Photo taken pre-lockdown).

To help their members and to open their doors to new members, the club is planning a number of events for people to come along and get some exercise, as well as a number of mental health based activities to allow their members to socialise.

“We’re aiming to show people that they don’t have to be able to play to a high standard, they can just drop in and burn off some energy which will really help people’s mental health," Sarah said.

“People have got used to being home alone, so we want to encourage people to get back into a routine with some exercise.”

Anyone interested in joining Horncastle & District Tennis Club can visit their website at https://www.horncastletennis.co.uk/Skegness Cricket Club also had high hopes last year of boosting their junior numbers and campaigning to get more youngsters playing cricket, which all had to take a back seat.

Vice chairman Norman Brackley said: “It’s not been a fun year to be honest. We’ve mostly been trying to maintain our ground as the groundsman was furloughed so it’s not been easy.

“We’ve got by doing as little as possible with as little expenditure as possible.

“The worst part was we had no junior cricket at all last year which is where we’ve been trying to build, but thankfully it's looking encouraging for March.”

Skegness cricket club runs the Allstars programme for ages five to eight and Dynamos for ages eight to 11. No experience is necessary, youngsters are welcome to sign up through the website

“It’s been tough and hard that not much cricket has been played but as a club we want to carry on building whether its juniors or seniors, but we’ve not been able to campaign as we’ve not been open," Norman said.

To find out more, visit skegness.play-cricket.com/

Another Lincolnshire cricket club, Louth Cricket Club, is preparing to begin their new season on April 19.

Club captain Laurence Scott said that the members had really missed the social aspect of playing.

He said: "People seem to be really excited about coming back after a season of having to stay at home and not do very much and need to have something to look forward to.

"They really miss the socialising side of things too, it's a very social sport and certainly at our club.

"Cricket is a good sport to play for practical reasons, it's outdoors and can be socially distanced and is a summer sport."

Louth's cricketers were quite lucky as they managed to play a shortened season during lockdown, splitting their league into a north and south division to keep travelling to a minimum and with a reduced capacity at the club.

"Currently we're planning to get going again as normal on April 19 and hoping we can get a few practice sessions in first as we've not played for so long."

Market Rasen & District Bowling Club took the opportunity to give their bowling green some much-needed maintenance during lockdown, headed up by Bill Pickering, which has now been completed and is ready for the members to start their new season in June.

Secretary Ian Rushby said: "We'll be holding a meeting in a few weeks time to see where we go from here, we've had quite a lot of interest about joining the club so we've got plenty of people to contact."

Ian said that their members are missing the social side of bowling as it's such a summer sport, and they don't see the other bowlers from October to March.

"We're hoping for some fresh blood in and to allow everyone to come together and enjoy themselves again."

To find out more about Market Rasen & District Bowling Club, visit their Facebook page or call Tony Dowse on 01673 842834.