BRADFORD Dudley Hill are finally about to get their season underway, with a friendly against West Bowling at Horsfall today.

And that will be followed by a league campaign of sorts from next month.

Giving a positive update after over a year of near-inactivity, Hill’s first-team coach Steve Wright said: “A draft of the fixtures was sent to us a while ago but we can announce it publicly now

“Our first league game is on May 22 and we’ll be playing Underbank at home, then West Bowling away the week after.

“The idea is we’ll go back to the divisions we had in 2020 for 2022, but this year the National Conference League has been split into seven regionalised leagues of seven teams, and there’ll be play-offs at the end.

“They’ve tried to localise it where they can, but there’s a couple of teams having to travel from West Yorkshire to Gateshead.

“They’ve not got anyone near them (Gateshead), so there wasn’t much choice, but it’s tough to get up there at the moment in a pandemic.

“We’re still going to have to travel as far as Beverley and Heworth in our group.”

There will be less travel today for the game with Bowling at Horsfall, and there will also be a second friendly for Dudley Hill against Saddleworth on May 8.

There is still plenty to adapt to though, with Wright saying: “One thing we’re hoping is okay after May 17 is travelling, because we can’t car share at the moment.

“That means we’ve got a team of 18 or 19 going to Bowling this weekend all separately, and that’s not including the coaches.

“On the playing side, it’s just what we’ve been watching on TV that we have to get used to, like no scrums and tap restarts, but to be honest scrums are a bit of a waste of time in rugby league anyway.”

He added: “We’re champing at the bit to get back and we’ve got a couple of new lads signed on, as well as a couple who used to play for us coming back. They’ll be in the squad for West Bowling.

“One of them was one of Wyke’s better players, Jordan Payton.

“Any bans have been expunged too, so anyone who had any carried over from before we stopped playing is available now.”

In good news for the club’s youngsters, Wright added: “We’ve picked our Tiny Tots programme back up, and we hope to get our Under-8s and Under-6s playing some friendlies this season.”

Finally, Wright eased fears about the RFL’s plans to introduce a community game-wide membership fee next year, which it is thought could drive players away, as they and/or parents may struggle to afford the extra costs.

But that shouldn’t be a problem for Dudley Hill, with Wright saying: “At Dudley Hill, we’re not going to get a raft of new supporters, it is going to be people who are coming back after time away.

“We certainly don’t intend to be charging them any more or less than previously.

“As for the players, I don’t see why the lads should play catch up with any fees, as it’s not down to them.

“We don’t intend to put our prices up and everyone’s happy paying what they are in terms of subs.

“We’ve got ourselves out of the pickle we were in a couple of years ago, and we’ve not really been hindered financially by the pandemic, so there’s no need to put prices up for people coming to the club.”