Clayton Rugby League club have been given the go-ahead to play at Lidget Green.

Bradford Council have given them permission to play on the former cricket pitch and they expect to stage their first game there before Christmas.

The ambitious Pennine League First Division club hope the move will enable them to achieve National Conference League status next season.

They have already marked out the ground and plan to renovate the old cricket dressing rooms.

The facilities will be inspected by the Nat-ional Conference League officials before the end of January.

Clayton's move to Lidget Green ends 97 years of cricket at the famous ground.

Lidget were founder members of the Bradford League in 1903, but the club resigned from the competition midway through last season after offering their ground to Clayton.

The move was bitterly opposed by the cricket section of the club who formed a Save Lidget Green CC organisation and presented a petition to Bradford Council who own the land.

For Clayton to play there the council had to agree to a change from cricket and athletics to rugby which they did after four months of deliberations and consultations with ward councillors.

A spokesperson for the council said: "After careful consideration we have agreed to lift one of the restrictions in the lease so that Lidget Green Cricket and Athletics Club can play rugby on the ground."

Chairman Tom McCarthy said the news would boost the club's long term ambitions.

"We were approached by Lidget Green Cricket Club to see if there was a chance of us moving there.

"We have been in the Pennine League First Division for a number of years and there was a danger that we that we would lose players to Conference clubs.

"To get into the Conference, though, we have got to have pitch side facilities which we don't have at our current ground at the Delph which is council owned.

"Lidget Green have changing rooms adjoining the pitch and we are in the process of adapting and extending them to make them suitable for two rugby teams.

"I would like to think we could stage a match there before the end of the year, but we would like a fixture with a local flavour."

He added: "The Conference is our goal though. They require you to run two senior sides and a minimum of eight junior teams starting with under-eights so there is going to be a lot of sporting activity at Lidget Green in the future.

"We are looking at creating a training pitch down the side of the ground with floodlights.

"We also hope to attract good support at our new ground."