TOMORROW sees grassroots sport make a welcome return to Somerset after the latest Covid-19 lockdown.

Schools and colleges have been back since March 8 - allowing youth sport to return - and now the latest relaxation of restrictions is set to take place across England.

It means an end to the ‘stay at home’ rule, and people can meet outside - either with one other household or within the ‘rule of six’ - although they are still urged to stay local as much as possible.

These new guidelines allow for outdoor sport facilities (including basketball and tennis courts, and golf courses) to reopen, and for formally organised outdoor sports (such as football and rugby) to restart.

Cricket St Thomas Golf Club has confirmed that it will be reopening tomorrow, while Chard Tennis Club is also looking forward to the return of the outdoor game.

The tennis club has announced new weekly sessions, running from Friday, April 23 to Friday, July 9 (12 sessions in total), for five to 10-year-olds.

More information about those sessions is available on the club’s Facebook page.

The tennis courts at Ilminster Bowling & Tennis Club are being relaid ahead of player’s return, and the bowls side of the club also has events in the pipeline.

The outdoor green will be officially opened on Sunday, April 18, with a competition being run on the day, and the ‘Big Bowls Weekend’ will follow between Friday, May 28 and Sunday, May 30.

Team sports being allowed to resume enables footballers to return to training, with Ilminster Town Ladies back together at the Archie Gooch Pavilion on Thursday, April 1.

Their training will continue from there on Tuesdays and Thursdays (6.30-8pm) for the next four to six weeks, before a summer break.

Football Association guidance (here) states that players “should avoid travel at the busiest times and routes, as well as minimising any unnecessary journeys where possible”.

Changing rooms must remain closed, and spectators are not allowed at this point.

Chard Rugby Club ladies will be training again from Wednesday, March 31 (6.45pm start).

Cricket also has the go-ahead to restart tomorrow, and teams are gearing up for outdoor training sessions and friendly matches ahead of the scheduled return of the West of England Premier League and Somerset Cricket League on Saturday, May 1.

The England & Wales Cricket Board has published guidance for players here.

What’s still to come?

From Monday, April 12 - providing that Covid-19 cases continue to fall - indoor leisure venues such as gyms and swimming pools will reopen, albeit without indoor mixing between different households.

The third step of the government ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown is to follow on Monday, May 17, when the ‘rule of six’ is to be abolished for outdoor gatherings, and replaced with a limit of 30 people - enabling fans to return to sporting fixtures.

Six people or two households will also be able to meet indoors from May 17, meaning that indoor group sports and exercise classes can restart.