Eccles Rugby Club has welcomed the latest government announcement which means the club could be opening up at the end of March.
The club, which boasts 17 teams and over 300 players in total, has lost over a year’s worth of training and games, is excited by the possibility of a return.
Chris Gaffey, Communications Officer at the club, has revealed; “It’s very welcome news, we’re very happy to hear we’ll be able to hopefully get back to training and playing from March 29th.
“We have teams all the way from Under 5’s to under 16’s as well as two men’s teams, a colts team, a ladies team and a walking rugby team. Everyone’s just looking forward to enjoying the physical and mental health benefits of being involved in team sport once again.
“We’re now waiting to hear a statement from the RFU (governing body) to give us a little more detail on what will be allowed from the date onwards, we may well be playing an adapted version of the game but we’re just looking forward to getting back playing.”
The club, which play at Gorton Street, is also excited about being able to open other parts of the club, such as the 3g pitch and the clubhouse, which they aim to be able to open up from April 12th.
Gaffey said; “The club is for the people and the community. We’re not just a rugby club. We have a great clubhouse which offers live sport as well as food and drink, and a 3G pitch which a lot of junior football teams use. We really feel we’re part of the community and do what we can to support the area.
“All sorts of people come down and use our facilities, from the under fives to the older people playing walking rugby, we’re just looking forward to opening up again so people can enjoy the outdoors.”
Eccles Rugby Club, which was founded in 1897, is entirely run by volunteers who have managed to keep the club going throughout the pandemic.
Despite cutting their expenditures, the club has had to keep on top of essential maintenance such as the maintenance of the car park, floodlights and extra security measures.
Gaffey said: It’s been very, very tough. We locked our gates in March last year and despite opening a couple of times briefly between lockdowns, we’ve lost a full year of income.
“This has put clubs like ours in difficult positions and we’re now looking to open up a crowdfunding campaign to help with the essential maintenance tasks that need to happen ahead of the new season.”
The crowdfunding campaign is going to be launched on Friday (26th February) , and will see the club try to raise £20,000 in four weeks in an all or nothing venture, with rewards on offer for people who choose to donate, courtesy of local businesses.