THE likes of Otley and Wharfedale are dreaming of a big summer final at Headingley, but Bradford & Bingley RUFC's head coach Hugh Gumbs says his side are making the stars of tomorrow their primary focus.

Tournaments like the Otley one are starting to crop up, with the RFU’s Return to Rugby Roadmap allowing for matches without things like scrums and mauls from next month, and full contact games from the end of May.

Gumbs admitted the Bees are in touch with Bradford Salem and Keighley about the possibility of some kind of tournament in the coming months, though he feels a 7s or 10s competition may be more appropriate than 15-a-side.

He said: “We’ve had discussions over a tournament or local league at senior level with Salem and Keighley, and we’d certainly want something like that, in a 7s or 10s format, for our U16s, as they’re the ones who need game time.

“Playing 7s or 10s might be better for the first team too, because with all the adapted rules, the front five don’t really want to come back.

“They don’t want to play touch rugby, they want to take part in scrums and lineouts, which they can’t do.

“Of course we want senior rugby to continue, but these new rules are not favourable to the front five and you just wonder how progressive this phased return actually is.

“It’s encouraging that people want to play again, but it’s frustrating. We were able to get a couple of games in when we were allowed a few months ago, but both sides ended up having moments in full contact.

“Rugby union should be an inclusive sport, where it doesn’t matter what size, colour or sex you are, there’s a position for you.

“But at the moment, we’re telling that front five that it’s not for them.

“This summer we might have to adapt and just play touch rugby, invite some veterans down and get the mixed ability Bumbles side involved.

“Hopefully we can be inclusive of all the people around the club, use things like the clubhouse and the pitch in front of that, which often doesn’t get played on as it floods in winter.

“We can get the gym back up and running soon, hopefully have touch rugby in the summer, then full contact in September.”

On that inclusivity theme, Gumbs says the focus is on far more than just the Wagon Laners’ first team.

He said: “A lot of pre-season and this pandemic has centred around our U15s and U16s, as we want them to come through into our senior section.

“There used to be a good colts section here, but when I came in three years ago, none of that was about any more. It would be good to get back to that.

“It’s great having those overseas players, but you need those homegrown players coming through.”

Gumbs added: “We’ve linked up with Beckfoot School, which is on our doorstep, and we’re providing a bigger programme than we ever have before for Bingley Grammar.

“There’s also a high school nearby, which is largely made up of Asian pupils, who aren’t traditionally part of rugby union’s demographic.

“But we can go in there and say to them that we’re here and we’re a great resource for them.

“We find that in some schools, there's nothing really there in terms of P.E. and that has only become worse with the pandemic.

“Behaviour is changing and kids need that social activity.

“There were Community Rugby Officers and Rugby Development Officers, about 20 of them across Yorkshire, but they’ve all been made redundant by the RFU, so we need to do a lot more on our own in the community and with youngsters.”

Finally, Gumbs is pleased with the way clubs in the Bradford District are coming together, saying: “You want those local rivalries, and to be playing those games against Salem or Baildon.

“But that rivalry should be on the pitch, not off it.

“Friendship starts when you get back in the tunnel after the final whistle.

“That’s the time to let anything go that’s happened on the pitch, and when you can then go and have a drink.

“We’ve been trying to relaunch the club, and create links with teams like Bradford Salem.

“Just before the pandemic for example, we were training with Keighley down at their place.

“It got more people into the club for Keighley and meant we got to train on their 4G pitch, which was great for the juniors in particular.

“We’re all playing the same sport, so we need that unity.”