Ambitious Garon Park Walking Football Club have been as affected as any grassroots sports group by the latest lockdown.
The clubs’ infancy has been very much ‘stop-start’ due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, despite their recent inactivity on the pitch, they have been busy off it ensuring the wellbeing of their players as well as putting plans in place for when restrictions are eventually lifted.
An active WhatsApp group has offered the members constant contact, keeping spirits high during troubled times. Meanwhile, new kit, in the clubs’ green, white and black colours, has been identified and order, ensuring the team are immaculately turned out when competitive walking football returns.
“After starting up in September, our Friday morning sessions have regularly attracted between 15 and 20 players,” manager, Mark Elnaugh told Yellow Sport.
“We were beginning to gain a bit of momentum and had participated in a friendly tournament with Billericay Town at New Lodge. We also had a plan in place for our Billericay, Leyton Orient and Wakering counterparts to come over to Garon Park for a four-team tournament, so the latest lockdown came as a bit of a blow.
But Elnaugh insisted the club had continued to plan and build in what has otherwise been an uncertain time for the amateur game; “The tournament will be rescheduled and plans are in place for the club to compete in the Essex Walking Football League, which runs from May 1 until the end of October. We have entered teams at all three age groups – Over 50, 60 and 65.
“The main purpose of the club is to attract anyone from the age of 50 to 80 to play walking football, enjoy the mental and physical benefits of regular exercise and increase social contact.”