IT’S becoming apparent that many rugby clubs at amateur level are struggling to field a full squad in the early stages of this campaign.

And it was no different for Wibsey, who themselves had to forfeit a fixture against Skipton only two weeks into the season.

Coming out of a pandemic, the issue was always going to present, but Wibsey chairman Steve Brooke is optimistic his side are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

He said: “Going into the season we had a goal of wanting to fulfil every fixture, if possible, but unfortunately because of the Skipton game, we weren’t able to achieve that.

“But we are hoping from now we can achieve that and target more consistency.

“Ourselves included; we have been struggling for numbers on a weekly basis. Our rugby league side’s season was extended, and they challenged for promotion via the play-offs.

“So, because of that, we did have less numbers in our squad early doors.

“There have been issues with covid and players having to work. That’s why we had to forfeit the fixture against Skipton, simply because we didn’t have enough players available to us.

“I am hopeful that the Skipton game will be the final time we have issues with availability this season.

“Our rugby league lads are back and we’ve a number of other players returning so hopefully we can look forward now. On paper we’ve got a strong team.”

Brooke added: “I recently spoke to our assistant coach and I said to him that our season starts properly this week against Harrogate because we have a full squad to pick from.”

Absentees and player availability have been a cause for concern for the Bradford side and it may have contributed to their slow start in the league.

Five games into the Yorkshire Three season and Wibsey find themselves second from bottom, having won only one of their first set of games, and are on a four-game losing streak.

And reflecting on their start, Brooke said: “It’s not been the best of starts for our boys. We won the first game of the season and there was an optimism about the season ahead.

“But then we got a couple of injuries and we had the problem with player availability, so it’s not been as good since the opening day.

“It’s not how we thought we’d start to be honest but it’s only five games in so there is plenty of rugby still to play. We are not concerned just yet and hopefully with a fully fit squad at our disposal, we can push on and show that we are a good side.”

Wibsey do return to action on Saturday (today) as they play host to Harrogate Pythons.

Harrogate have started the season well, having won four of their opening six.