Champions Keswick were denied the chance to secure a third straight division one title when the Westmorland League season was declared null and void after all fixtures had been suspended because of the coronavirus crisis.
Ironically, the wet winter which brought record rainfall in Keswick meant only four senior fixtures had been played by the club from December to March before the Football Association cancelled the league, bringing everything to an abrupt end.
Despite this, Keswick’s second team was seven points clear at the top of division two and with the first XI well placed to be crowned champions for the third season in a row, both senior sides were on course to achieve another league double for the second consecutive year.
“Little did we know when the weather started to dry up that a pandemic would come along to stop all football in its tracks,” said club secretary Martin Thwaites. “If they chose to finish the leagues on a ‘points per game’ basis, both teams would have been champions,” he added.
With lockdown restrictions now starting to ease, some football training is allowed in groups of six but with no contact. However, it is still the close season and Keswick’s players are waiting to return to training, with club officials in regular contact with the Cumberland FA to help prepare for when resumption of football can begin.
Meanwhile, the club needs to hold its AGM and then start working with coaches to prepare for a COVID-safe environment for training. There is no information yet as to when league football will resume, although the junior league is working towards the usual restart in early September. The club will update players as and when things change.
Since Storm Desmond in 2015, the Fitz Park pitches have suffered from compaction and poor grass growth. Also in February this year, the River Greta burst its banks again, resulting in several feet of water across all the pitch areas. This meant significant weed growth, so the £2,500 grant funding the club has received from the Football Foundation will allow it to use a selective herbicide to allow the new seed to establish.