Footballers launch new team in lockdown after funding boost
- Credit: Archant
A Swaffham man who formed a new football team during lockdown is desperate for restrictions to ease so they can train and play together for the first time.
Ashley Rowland, 27, has reunited a group of friends virtually during the Coronavirus pandemic and set up a new team Swaffham Town A, as a reserve side for the existing Swaffham Town club.
The squad will be made of players from the town and is designed to build on the sense of community spirit which has grown through the lockdown period.
Mr Rowland, who will captain the new side, said: “Myself and others wanted to start a new football team within our town where the most of the players would be made up of local residents.
“We wanted to encourage people to get back into sport as a number of them have been out of action for a while and are keen to get back.
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“I’m a central midfielder who played for another club, Watton, last season, but I’ve contacted friends I used to play with in earlier years and they are desperate to take up the sport again.”
Mr Rowland, who works as a faults scheduler in Kings Lynn for UK Power Networks, has received a £250 Team Sport grant from his company to cover some of the set-up costs.
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The team has secured a place in the Crown and Fire Central and South Norfolk league for next season and will use the money from the electricity distributor to buy training equipment.
Mr Rowland said: “There are restrictions in place at the moment, but we have started running to get ourselves fit and, when the rules allow, can’t wait to get training with the new equipment and kit my company’s funding will provide.
“There has been a fantastic reaction locally to us doing this and we’ll be closely tied to the existing Swaffham Town club, we’ll be able to give match experience to some of their youth players for example. We can’t wait for the league to start for what will be a huge and exciting challenge.”
The Team Sport Award scheme encourages UK Power Networks staff to volunteer in the community and is aimed at promoting healthy living, teamwork and development of sporting opportunities.