Sunday 7th June saw a return to training for Royal Arsenal Rugby from 11am to 1 pm. This wasn’t a knee-Jerk reaction to a recent announcement but had been meticulously planned over a number of weeks by the organising committee including a RISK ASSESSMENT. When it was first announced that 6 people could congregate, this was taken as a signal to plan for a future resumption of training. The further announcement that more than 1 group of 6 could get together on a sports field was the green flag to implement the planning.
Keeping the club informed on a regular basis regarding the government guidelines, the first requirement for all participants was to complete a SELF HEALTH DECLARATION (online) form confirming no symptoms of infection and agreeing to comply with the clubs stringent rules on hygiene and distancing. No form – GO HOME. How do I know? Well I foolishly turned up without completing the disclaimer and was promptly pulled aside by chief enforcer Annabelle. As luck would have it I had been collared on arrival by the club secretary and made to sign on the dotted line. So thankfully I escaped serious sanction.
Aside from the self health declaration, participants were regularly required to sanitise hands and maintain a 2-meter distance. The rugby balls used in the training were sprayed with disinfectant at the beginning and throughout the session. So, while it is difficult to eliminate risk completely this was a solid effort to minimise it and provide participants with a sense of security.
Training ran for 2 hours from 11am to 1pm and there was a total of 12 participants which was convenient as this allowed for 2 groups of 6 on a full-size rugby pitch (adhering to RFU instructions). The drills were led by John Gavin and Kes Harding in the separate groups and one of the things the practice highlighted was how rusty you become when you haven’t handled a rugby ball for a few months. The main thing was it was good to be outdoors again training in a group setting and especially when we were able to get together with friends, we haven’t seen due to the lockdown. It would have been great to organise a bounce match, however it’s impossible to play tag and observe social distancing, so for the present that’s off the menu. The fact that we can train is a very welcome first step and hopefully in the not too distant future we can resume the highly popular NCR Blackheath Tag Rugby (midweek added due to demand along) with the usual Saturday league. (Video Footage Here)
Further References Published Previously