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South Holland sporting fixtures called off due to coronavirus emergency




Competitive sporting activity across South Holland has effectively stopped indefinitely due to government guidelines following the coronavirus outbreak.

Football, hockey, netball, rugby union and running have all been suspended or cancelled after advice issued on Monday for people to “avoid social contact and gatherings where possible”.

The BetVictor Northern Premier League (NPL), where Spalding United play in the South East Division, and the United Counties League (UCL), involving Holbeach United, Pinchbeck United, Deeping Rangers and Bourne Town, suspended all fixtures on Monday.

Spalding United's ground, Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.Photo:SG-150220-007TW.
Spalding United's ground, Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.Photo:SG-150220-007TW.

Tulips manager Lewis Thorogood said: “Ultimately, the right decision has been made and when all is said and done, the NPL are falling in line with the professional leagues.

“We’re very much in uncharted waters around the world at the moment and it’s a difficult time for everybody, in terms of finances, looking after families, friends and livelihoods.

“That has to be the priority because I don’t think we’re anywhere near getting to the peak of this pandemic.”

Spalding United manager Lewis Thorogood.Photo:SG-110120-145TW.
Spalding United manager Lewis Thorogood.Photo:SG-110120-145TW.

Holbeach staged their last UCL Premier Division match, a 6-2 win over Lutterworth Town, on Saturday and manager Danny Hussey said: “I’m debating whether to bring the players in for training on Saturday or whether to keep them away from each other.

“I’d like to think that the players will look after themselves and keep themselves fit.

“But I think the season is over and I don’t see any football being played at professional or any other level.”

Pinchbeck, currently bottom of the UCL Premier Division, are in the most uncertain position of the three South Holland teams, with relegation as yet undecided.

Pinchbeck United manager Ian Dunn.Photo: SG-081019-143TW.
Pinchbeck United manager Ian Dunn.Photo: SG-081019-143TW.

Knights manager Ian Dunn said: “I was surprised games went ahead last Saturday, but I’ve heard nothing at all in terms of the league finishing.

“But with people having to put work and families first, football is going to be the last thing on their minds.

"We have lots of players who are all in different walks of life and some may have more free time than others.

Match action from Dunstablians against Spalding.Photo by Adrian Smith.
Match action from Dunstablians against Spalding.Photo by Adrian Smith.

"But they have to put work and their families first so I really don't know what will happen."

Spalding Rugby Club have suspended all training at matches until April 14, at the earliest, just days after winning the Midlands RFU Senior Vase for the first-time ever.

Club chairman Martin Beecham said: “This is clearly a disappointment, with two local derbies against Stamford and Bourne planned for the coming weeks, along with an NLD Shield semi-final and the RFU Senior Vase national semi-final against North regional winners Wetherby.”

Spalding’s Tulips Blue and Yellow teams, both part of the Boston Netball League, East Region Hockey Leagues, including Long Sutton and Spalding teams, and Halmer Harriers Community Running Club are also halting events.


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