Buckie Ladies raring to go for new season as training restarts
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BUCKIE Ladies FC are back in business and raring to go when the league restarts.
That was the verdict of the team's manager Mel Smith as the players resumed training after an enforced lay-off due to lockdown.
Last Tuesday's session was also a a welcome personal return for Smith, who had missed the previous two training sessions due to her shielding.
Despite the players not having been able to have a formal training session for around four months, the manager was nevertheless very impressed by what she saw as the she put them through their paces at the Buckie all-weather pitch.
"It's just magic being back again, there was a real buzz about training and the players are enjoying it after having had such a long lay-off," Smith said.
"I was very impressed with the shape they were in considering we haven't had a training session for months.
"They've been doing a lot of work on their fitness during that time and it really shows.
"If I had to pick a standout it would be Michelle Johnson. She has been doing a lot of fitness work on her own. All of the players were excellent, though.
"On a personal note, it's great to be back among the squad, I was just buzzing.
"The club were also delighted to welcome Buckie Thistle coach Frank McGettrick, who took a training session."
While the training sessions have resumed, it is not a return to normal, although the ongoing Covid regulations have nevertheless provided an opportunity in their own right.
Smith continued: "At the moment we're training on a non-contact basis, which will hopefully be relaxed on May 17.
"Obviously that's not ideal but I'm using the time to work on technique and looking at some of the bad habits we had during our last league season.
"Hopefully we'll see the benefits of this when the league resumes.
"Safety is the top priority at the club, we're following the Covid rules to the letter. For example, under the rules we can only have a training group of 15 maximum, including the coach, so we split the pitch up into thirds so we could meet these guidelines safely.
"There's a lot of Ts to cross and Is to dot, but whatever we need to do to stay safe, we'll do.
"Despite the restrictions the players are all so enthusiastic."
Buckie Ladies are raring to go when the Highlands and Islands League resumes, their last campaign dashed before it began when the SFA closed down Scottish football in the bid to help halt the spread of Covid two days before their first fixture.
Smith said: "We've not had a firm date for the league starting, but it's looking like the end of May or start of June but whenever it is, we'll be ready for it.
"My main aim for the season is to finish as high as we possibly can.
"There's been a lot of improvement and we've come a long way as a club. To be honest, I think the coming season is looking really promising for Buckie Ladies.
Due to Covid regulations, prospective new players can no longer simply turn up at training sessions as before. Instead, those aiming to sign up should message first via the club Facebook page. Training sessions are held on Tuesdays at the all-weather pitch from 6.30pm to 8pm.