JUST over a month before the rugby union season is due to start, Old Grovians have been forced to make a heartbreaking decision.

The Bradford side have pulled out of Yorkshire Two, where they competed alongside Keighley and Baildon last season, due to a lack of playing resources, and we may never see them again.

Deflated club founder John Hinchliffe told the T&A: "I honestly don't know, we'll have to see if this is the end for us.

"We've got no bones to pick with any other clubs or anything like that, it's just tough to take.

"It is what it is though and can't be helped, there's no point blaming anyone else for what's happened."

He added: "We shared Cross Green with our landlords Otley last season, and I have to thank them, because they could not have been more welcoming.

"As we've said in our club statement, it's simply the loss of players that has led us to this decision."

That statement does add some more details, and it was posted on Old Grovians' Twitter page over the weekend, being met by an outpouring of well-wishes from other clubs.

It read: "It is with great sadness that I write this note, but Old Grovians is no longer in a position to be part of the Yorkshire leagues.

"Despite being financially secure, we simply do not have the playing resources for league rugby.

"A number of serious injuries, retirements and some local clubs enticing a number of our players with financial offers to play at a higher level have all contributed to the sad position we find ourselves in.

"Although we are financially secure, offering financial rewards to players is not something we've ever entertained as a club."

It added: "The last 15 years have been a hell of a ride, progressing from Yorkshire Six through to the dizzy heights of Yorkshire Two.

"We are proud of our contribution to Yorkshire rugby, and there are a significant number of players at a higher level that have come through our system.

"In the last 12 months, we had three lads in the Yorkshire Under-20s squad and two in the Northern Counties squad.

"We'd like to thank every single player and helper over the last 14 or so years.

"Special thanks go to John Hinchliffe, who has been a real stalwart and whose idea it was to create the club in the first place.

"Ben Brown, who without him and his merry men, we'd have never progressed.

"Martin Whitcombe, for helping professionalise the club along with Dan Nulty, who also managed to stabilise us in Yorkshire Two in his first coaching job.

"And Andy Hinchliffe, who helped us to progress even further.

"The list is too long to mention, but as with all rugby clubs, Old Grovians has been lucky enough to to attract some fantastic players and supporters."

It goes on: "Sadly, a combination of Covid, the continuing player drain across all leagues and levels, along with the very strict registration system, has finally seen us off, despite the best efforts of a number of volunteers.

"Please apologise to the rest of Yorkshire Two for the late notice on this, it is not a decision that has been taken lightly."

However, the statement adds: "Now, it's time to reflect and see if we can get some friendlies after Christmas, and we will also be looking to create a Sevens team.

"Hopefully at some point in the future the club will be in a position to reassess if it can play in the leagues.

"A final do will be organised at some point so watch this space, we want to be back when we are strong enough.

"Finally, we'd like to say thanks to all the clubs in Yorkshire that have embraced us and made us feel incredibly welcome over the years.

"We are going to miss you all."