3rd Apr, 2020

Sport off as situation worsens

Rob George 18th Mar, 2020

WORCESTER’S sporting calender has ground to a halt after the city’s football and top-flight rugby union teams’ respective leagues confirmed their seasons would be put on ice due to the coronavius outbreak.

Monday’s update on the spread of COVID-19 saw Warriors chiefs confirm all matches under the auspices of Premiership Rugby would be postponed with immediate effect for five weeks until Monday, April 20.

The home fixtures affected are the Gallagher Premiership matches against Gloucester Rugby and Harlequins and Cavaliers’ Premiership Rugby Shield match against Gloucester.

The RFU have also suspended all rugby activity until April 14 which means Women’s home Tyrrells Premier 15s matches against Gloucester-Hartpury, Darlington Mowden Park and Loughborough Lightning will also be postponed.

It is unclear if top-flight rugby will resume on April 20 with rugby chiefs following the lead of other major sports in the UK in freezing their competition until a later date.

A Warriors spokesperson said: “The coronavirus poses such a serious threat to public health that the imposition of exceptional measures are required to combat it.

“The situation is uncertain but, by working together, we hope normal service can be resumed as soon as possible.”

Worcester City’s Midland Football League campaign and Malven Town’s Hellenic League scheduele came to a halt after league bosses confirmed matches would be suspended from midnight on Monday.

The Blue and Whites had already seen their game yesterday (Tuesday) against Gresley called off due to the outbreak after Saturday’s trip to Racing Club Warwick was axed after five people in and around the City squad reported ‘flu-like’ symptoms.

In a statement on Monday evening, league chiefs said: “We have a duty of care to all players, staff and supporters of all of our clubs, together with match officials and volunteers. This, together with the announcement of the Football Association, left the board with no alternative.

“We shall continue to monitor the situation over the coming days and weeks and await further FA instructions regarding the rest of the 2019/20 season.”

Vitality Netball Superleague chiefs postponed fixtures at the end of last week for teams such as Severn Stars and were expected to meet yesterday to discuss the impact on the remainder of the 2020 campaign.

Worcester Wolves have waved goodbye to four American stars who travelled home ahead of travel restrictions imposed by President Donald Trump which came into effect on Monday.

Amir Williams, Mark Hughes, Cortez Edwards and Julius Van Sauers all recieved help from the club with their arrangements to return home following the outbreak

In a statement, club chiefs said: “We completely understand and respect their decision. We would like to thank them for an amazing season, wish them all the best and hope they have a safe trip home.”

British Basketball League chiefs were the latest to postpone their season following a meeting yesterday (Tuesday).

In a statement, the BBL said: “Following the latest measures to combat Covid-19 as directed by the Government, the British Basketball League (BBL) has agreed a decision to postpone the 2019/20 season until further notice due to the on-going impact of these measures.

“The BBL is wholly owned by its member clubs who as a collective determine any decisions and they have agreed that it is in the best interests of the sport to see out the season and that this postponement offers the best chance to do so.”

The worldwide pandemic looks set to affect this summer’s cricket programme with the county cricket season just over a month away.

Pears officials have confirmed the club’s pre-season tour to Abu Dhabi, due to start today (Wednesday), has been cancelled, while the chairman’s lunch and AGM later this month have also been axed.

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