It is disappointing but inevitable news that the 2020 National Conference League season has effectively been cancelled.
As with everything else it is impossible to predict when current restrictions will be lifted and it would seem that the physical contact that a game of Rugby League involves makes any speculation about an imminent restart purely that – speculation!
All clubs in the Premier Division and Division One had played two games, in Division Two all had played two games, with the exception of Wigan St Judes and Saddleworth Rangers, who had only played one.
In Division Three clubs some clubs had played four games whilst others had only played two, due to weather postponements.
That in itself is a cruel irony because since the lockdown we have had some superb conditions for playing and watching our game.
So the League season is over meaning the league tables will be a collector’s item in years to come.
Locally it is especially frustrating for Thornhill Trojans, who were top of Division One, and Dewsbury Celtic, who were top of Division Two.
Both clubs were unbeaten and faced the enticing prospect of promotion hunting seasons with big crowds at Overthorpe and Crow Nest Park.
Along with Dewsbury Moor Maroons and Shaw Cross Sharks, they are in the perilous position of having maintenance costs and bills to pay against the background of no income.
Dewsbury Moor, Shaw Cross and Thornhill have clubhouses that are normally the hub of their communities.
Match days are obviously big events at open age and junior level. but they also stage functions which are a massive part of their budget.
So what happens next?
The National Conference League do seem to have come up with a superb idea if play can resume in the latter part of the year.
With the leagues abandoned, they are proposing to play regional competitions that will culminate in a Championship Final.
This proposal will be a financial boost for all clubs in that long trips between Cumberland, Lancashire and Yorkshire will be avoided – thus avoiding the costly item of the team bus to make such journeys.
All games will effectively be local crowd-pulling derbies.
For example, what is not to like about the prospect of watching Dewsbury Celtic take on Thornhill Trojans, and Shaw Cross Sharks taking on Dewsbury Moor Maroons?
The longest journeys our local clubs would make will be to face opposition in Bradford, Featherstone, Leeds and Wakefield.
If this can happen then our clubs could begin to re-establish themselves in a playing and financial sense.