3Ds and Saddleworth School working together

AS Saddleworth 3Ds return to some kind of normality, they find themselves in a unique situation.

While some clubs have struggled to recruit new players during these times, they are thriving.

The introduction of four new Under-7s teams and the growth of the squads moving up in age groups is fantastic in the current climate.

However, preparations for the new season have been disrupted. In previous years they would expect to see teams taking part in summer tournaments, football festivals and pre-season friendlies.

This year they have needed to think outside the box. Vice chair and junior football lead John Lees came up with a plan to use their training facility at Saddleworth School for teams to take part in a friendly match before the season started.

They converted the pitch into a playing arena for two days the week before the season started and arranged for all teams to play against each other.

Wednesday evening kicked off with U7s and U8s playing five-a-side, the U7 Reds v Blacks, Yellows v Blues and U8s Yellows v Blues.

They then quickly turned the pitch size around to accommodate a seven-a-side pitch to host the U9 Reds v Yellows, followed by the final game of day one, U10 Blues v U11s Yellows.

Day two saw U9 Blues v U10s Reds, followed by U10 Blues v U11 Blacks, with the final game nine-a-side, U11s Blues v U12 Yellows.

The experience was invaluable to prepare for the new season, though arranging games for 16 teams in two days has had its challenges.

The club thanked Saddleworth School for its help over the last few months, explaining they have gone out of their way to accommodate the club during difficult times and without their support they would not have been able to get back to training and playing football.

It is always looking for new players at all age groups. Contact them at saddleworth3ds@btinternet.com

The season kicked off on Saturday and Sunday, September 5 and 6 with many of teams getting the season under way.

The U7 Yellows, Blues and Blacks got their first-ever games on Sunday with the Reds having to wait until next Sunday.

Meanwhile, the U13s had their first ever 11-a-side league game on The Woolpack on Sunday and beat Rochdale-based Springfield Park 6-0, Findlay Holland and Jack Whatmough-Stretton both scoring hat-tricks.

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