You'd expect a crippling pandemic to dampen the enthusiasm of the region's footballers ahead of what's very much an unprecedented winter on the pitch, but Barnstoneworth FC has reported an increase in participation numbers ahead of the season.
Secretary Michael Lewis says the club did all it could to bring in fresh faces before the coronavirus hit, and that work is paying dividends today.
"We've grown massively year-after-year," Lewis said.
"A lot of our recruitment took place before the virus and we've just been hibernating and waiting on instructions."
According to Lewis, the directives surrounding a safe return to the pitch were continually received and he commended Orange District Football Association for its ongoing help.
"The communication we got from them was very good," he said. "We digested all of it and distributed it to people at our club."
As for now, it's back to the training paddock for Barneys' players and Lewis says the club's been hard at work for the last three weeks.
"Training's been a bit harder for the younger kids because they don't understand social distancing as well," he said.
As for the seniors, the A-grade men are set to field a pair of sides in this year's competition and Lewis is hoping the trophy returns to his clubhouse.
"If Waratahs aren't sending a team to the WPL that means they'll be very strong in grade."
"We're hoping to retain our title... we'll try our best," he said.
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