Jersey-UK flight-link fears: Guernsey call for netball cancellation
THE government’s plan to welcome commercial flights from UK airports appears to have cost Jersey’s netballers the chance to play their 2020 inter-insular fixtures.
Following an initial postponement of the annual event in March, Guernsey Netball Association officials have now requested a complete cancellation amid concerns that increased movement between Jersey and the mainland could leave both islands exposed to a second wave of Covid-19.
The schedule of essential ‘lifeline’ flights between Jersey, Southampton and London Gatwick has been extended until 19 July but air-link restrictions look set to be relaxed from that date onwards. The rearranged inter-insulars were being lined up to take place in Jersey in September.
The Sarnian population has been free of the virus for weeks and Guernsey’s government lifted internal restrictions last weekend. However, travel into the island from outside the Bailiwick is likely to remain limited.
Daily new cases of Covid-19 in the UK have this week been around the 1,000-mark.
GNA secretary Heidi Rosamund said: ‘Taking into consideration Jersey’s choice to bubble up with the UK and the fact that the UK are still experiencing difficult times with regards to Covid ... naturally we as a sporting organisation will always put the wellbeing of our athletes first. Therefore the decision, which wasn’t made lightly, was to cancel the event and return back to normal next season.’
Jersey Netball Association president Linda Andrews said: ‘If we were in the same boat as Guernsey [with regards to Covid-19] it might have gone ahead. But we don’t know when netball’s going to start up again and they’d have to fly over here ... some of the parents wouldn’t really be happy about that. Originally it was just going to be postponed – we were looking at September and using it as a build-up to get back into netball – but we couldn’t keep delaying it, so Guernsey put the proposition to us to cancel.
‘It will be weird not having it, very strange.’
The Caesareans claimed four inter-insular crowns from a possible seven across the age-groups in 2019, having clinched seven out of eight from under-11s to over-30s in 2018.
Jersey’s Open A first-team squad have won 14 consecutive inter-insular titles.
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