The national lockdown has dealt another blow for our women's team, whose season was set to get back underway on Sunday 3rd January in a home fixture with Notts County. North East Lincolnshire remained in Tier 3, having made great progress in lowering infection rates. But government minister for health, Matt Hancock announced that both Lincolnshire and the majority of the East Midlands had been put into Tier 4. Travelling in and out of Tier 4 areas is not permitted for adult football training and matches in Step six football and so the season for the women was once again put on hold. Last night Boris Johnson announced the latest national lockdown, which naturally results in the further suspension to the women's league until February.
Our women's team manager Dale Houlston commented: "It's been on the cards hasn't it, and whilst it is disappointing once again, it wasn't totally unexpected. From our point of view we have to respect the decisions that have been made and the reasoning behind this. Health and well-being really does have to take priority".
"Even before last nights announcement, it was a non-starter for us as I and a number of our players live in Tier 4 Lincolnshire, and even though East Lindsey, along with NE Lincs, currently has one of the lowest infection rates, travelling between tiers for football wasn't allowed".
We asked Dale how difficult it is knowing that there is another lengthy delay, he said: "Look, having to wait again to resume is not the end of the world though is it in the bigger scheme of things. Even if our season gets halted permanently, as by the time we are anywhere near resumption, we are now running out of time to get all of the backlogs of fixtures in. We just have to think about some of those poor business owners and employees that that are struggling now that they have to close down once again. That is where the real hardship is. That along with those that are suffering with Covid illness, or dare I say it, those that have lost loved ones to Covid. I myself lost a very dear friend to Covid in the lead up to Christmas. She went into hospital in Boston with another illness, but got Covid whilst she was there and never came out. So I am not going to moan about having to stop playing football matches again. We will be back, and when we are, perhaps we will appreciate being able to be out in the fresh air playing the sport we love a little bit more".
When asked what he and the players will be doing during the lockdown, Dale told us. "We have players that do important essential work, and so for them, they will busy supporting their community. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy supporting Paul Hurst and the men's team on the iFollow. It's an important and vital period for the club, isn't it? As a Town supporter, I really rate Paul Hurst and Chris Doig, and my family and I have great memories of the last time he managed us. So I am delighted they are back, and I think it's important we all get behind them in any way that we can, be positive, and support them even whilst supporters aren't allowed in the ground. So I for one will be staying safe and enjoying the ride online".