So, no Pembrokeshire football friendlies this weekend after all.

A long and frustrating wait for local sides was set to end, with clubs originally permitted to arrange fixtures with each other as of today (Monday).

But Welsh Government confirmation that Wales will now, as of 6pm this Friday, return to full lockdown until Monday, November 9th, has put the return of the game on hold.

But of course, it’s not just football to be affected. All clubs and organisations must now halt training sessions, and gyms, swimming pools, and leisure centres are to close.

Exercise will be permitted, as long as it begins and finishes at home and is done alone, or with members of the same household. Government guidance also states: “You should not be driving to get to somewhere to exercise, and the need to carry sports equipment isn’t regarded as a justification on its own for driving in these circumstances.

“No journeys of any significant distance should be taken, for example, just in order to exercise in the countryside or at beauty spots.”

And significantly golf clubs, who have benefited more than most during the Covid-19 pandemic, will also shut, as will tennis clubs.

Professional sports fixtures will continue in Wales behind closed doors, but that will be of little consolation to those involved at grassroots level. As of yet, it has not been confirmed if Haverfordwest County’s campaign in the Welsh Premier League will also be suspended.

A body blow:

The latest developments are not unique to Pembrokeshire - but will serve as a body blow just when light was beginning to appear at the end of the tunnel in our county.

Our footballers will rightly feel aggrieved at having been made to wait until now to get game time again, especially given the apparent discrepancies between the measures imposed on sport and the measures imposed on pubs and restaurants. Playing a game on an open field has been deemed too dangerous, sitting at the bar all day drinking with five other people from different walks of life has not.

The frustration will now be amplified, and all teams and organisations who had got back into the routine of training will now feel back at square one. Starting from scratch again in mid-winter, especially for those who are training outdoors, won’t be easy.

Gym owners as well, who have had to undertake a great amount of work to reopen and adhere to new guidelines in order to make facilities safe for members, will now suffer a financial loss and inevitably, will feel perturbed by the notion of people still able to shop in supermarkets.

A bigger picture?

Of course, no one is valuing sport over the prevention of people losing lives. But at a time when experts are promoting the need for health and well-being more than ever before, the reintroduction of lockdown is inevitably going to test people’s mindsets.

Resentment is no excuse for flouting rules, but the frustration already vented by those within Pembrokeshire sport is fully understandable.

And with that frustration will come a fear - a fear that another curtailment will derail motivation and long term, result in a drop off in those signing up to sporting teams and activities.

Normality in sport, not to mention society, remains some way away.