Written by Richard Sykes

At a meeting of the National Clubs Association on 22nd January a decision was made to bring the curtain down on semi-professional rugby for the 2020/21 season.

There had been no competitive action in Levels 3 and 4 of the union game during the present season because of the virus pandemic but NCA clubs had hoped to get up and running again through limited regional cup competitions. 

The decision comes as a big disappointment for Huddersfield RUFC who had maintained their position in the National 2 North division after the curtailment of the 2019/20 season last March.

Following this, a NCA panel decided the results of the un-played games based on early season form. The outcome left the Lockwood Park club in the lower half of the Tier 4 table but well clear of the three relegation places. 

NCA Chairman John Inverdale said: “It is with a heavy heart that we have made the call because there was a lot of enthusiasm for the idea of the cup competitions but ultimately we have had to concede defeat. A possibility of a return to rugby on a friendly basis in April and May remains but even this will be at the mercy of Government guidelines when the time comes.”

Huddersfield head coach Gaz Lewis said: “We have all been extremely frustrated by the lack of competitive sport and appreciate the efforts made by the NCA to get rugby going again with the cup competitions. Unfortunately these will not now take place.”

Lewis remains hopeful, however, that there may still be a return to rugby in the current season. “I recently attended a meeting of representatives of the county’s NCA clubs. If lockdown restrictions are eased we have some exciting plans waiting to be announced involving several of the county’s clubs as we move into spring.”

The enforced cancellation of sport and the curtailment of commercial activities during the lockdowns has had a hugely detrimental impact on club finances.

This has kept the HRUFC Management Committee very busy just to keep things ticking over. Government and RFU schemes and grants have been explored and accessed as a result of which the club feels it is in a position to get things going again as soon as it gets the green light.

Recently the club launched a new website which, along with an additional weekly newsletter initiative, is keeping members abreast of developments at Lockwood Park. However for the time being rugby there remains well and truly on the back burner.

Picture by Ray Morris