A JUNIOR rugby league team coach has hailed the effort gone into children in Warrington being able to play matches this weekend for the first time since March's UK Covid lockdown.

Players from six community clubs will feature in derby matches that are all taking place behind closed doors at Victoria Park Stadium and Arena on Saturday and Sunday.

"It’s taken many weeks of preparation but thanks go to the Warrington Wolves Foundation who have pulled it all together to make sure all boxes are ticked," said Latchford Giants coach Matt Wilkinson.

"This weekend will be the first of four weeks of games for teams who have chosen to play in these trial matches.

"Each team's games will have a fortnight between them and require teams to be Covid secure."

Precautions are therefore being taken at training as well as on matchdays.

Wilkinson added: "This means players are temperature checked and fully fit before each training, each player has their own sanitiser and drink for every session and they must keep distance at all times in the session and can only partake in certain drills due to restrictions on what you can do.

Warrington Guardian:

Matt Wilkinson, Latchford Giants under 9s coach

"Contact has been minimised to just 10 minutes in a session and in your team bubbles (same group each week) but this week has increased to 20 minutes.

"All the checks and cleaning of hands have become the new normal and all my team, Latchford under 9s, have all taken it in their stride as they know it’s what they have to do to get playing again and this week is their chance to get back out onto the field and play the game we all love."

> League football is suspended for thousands of children

Bank Quay Bulls, Crosfields, Culcheth Eagles, Rylands Sharks and Woolston Rovers will all have teams playing matches during this and forthcoming weekends.

Wilkinson added: "To be back playing again is a massive achievement and is thanks to all the efforts to each club's Covid officers who attend regular Zoom meetings with Wolves Foundation staff and the Rugby Football League to discuss new procedures and measures teams must put in place.

"It's also massive raps to each team manager/coach who have plenty of paper work to fill in for every session to keep records for track and trace and also player safety when training in groups.

"The time it takes will be worth it when that whistle goes and I see the kids' smiling faces when they are playing."


As part of the restrictions in place for the matches, only one parent per child will be allowed into the stadium to watch.

And each parent must be booked in and keep social distanced from others.