Social distancing, sanitising and split groups part of the new routine as Bishop's Stortford rugby club returns to training
Social distancing guidelines and sanitising procedures were followed to the letter as Bishop's Stortford rugby club began pre-season training last week.
Following advice from the RFU and the latest Government protocols around group exercise, the players were put through their paces by the coaches at Silver Leys for the first time since the lockdown began in March.
Training has been split in half for the resumption of activities pending further easing of the restrictions, with the forwards in action on Tuesdays and the backs getting a run-out on Thursdays.
That means 30 players and six coaches in attendance each night working in small groups of six – five players and one coach – in order to always be two metres apart.
Joint head coach Marcus Cattell was delighted to see everyone again following a lengthy hiatus – Stortford's last National League 1 match was a 31-24 win at Rotherham on March 7 and they still had six fixtures left to play when the 2019-20 campaign was ended.
"It was good to get the boys back in," said Cattell, who is at the helm alongside fellow joint head coach Tom Coleman following the departure of director of rugby Andy Long. "We had the forwards on Tuesday night and then the backs on Thursday night.
"We included some younger lads, who are at university or going to university, as well as some who still have another year in the colts. Doing that helps transition the younger players into the senior side of the club as it gives them a flavour and feel of the level we're training at.
"The lads trained hard. They weren't gruelling sessions as we don't want them to do too much too soon. We don't know when the season will start yet, so we can build up the intensity once we get a date for that.
"The main priority at this stage is conditioning and running to get some distance into their legs. It's just nice to get the boys back in and amongst it."
Meanwhile, Stortford have begun to announce the players who have signed new deals ahead of the forthcoming season.
The forwards putting pen to paper include vice-captain Declan Caulfield, Will Roberts, Ben Harrison, Najee Mundicha, Louis Castiglione, Jamie Gage, Brad Etherington and Harrison King.