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Departing Lokomotive ARLC aim for return to league
11:31am Thursday 6th September 2012 in Sport
YORK Lokomotive ARLC are hoping to start afresh in the Yorkshire Men’s League next year after a troublesome season which has ended with the club pulling out of the league.
Various problems with the league make-up – including postponements, an irregular fixture programme and varying levels of opposition – and internally with player availability led to the York RI-based outfit quitting the league last month and instead playing friendly matches, the first being last week’s 24-18 win over Scarborough Pirates.
Troubles have not ceased, though, with this Saturday’s friendly being cancelled by opponents Birstall Victoria, who themselves have had difficulties in-house during the problematic transition for amateur rugby league from the traditional winter to a summer season.
New opponents have not yet been found for this weekend, which was set to be the Lokos’ last official fixture of term, although they will continue to look for occasional friendlies to keep ticking over during autumn and winter.
The Lokos, formed in 2008 as a development club, had been the first York amateur team to play summer rugby league in what was the sport’s expansion competition, the RL Conference.
This year, the amateur game’s elite tier, the National Conference League, plus other traditional winter teams, made the switch to summer, which led to the Yorkshire Men’s League forming as a tier below the NCL. It has not been plain sailing, however.
Lokos coach Liam Watling explained: “Some lads from York Acorn and Heworth played for us during previous summers but these players are at their usual clubs now so we’ve had to rebuild. We’ve still got a squad of 30 but 11 of them have been out with long-term injuries and it’s not been easy to get a full team out all the time.
“I think lots of clubs are struggling. I’m not sure going to summer was a great idea (for all of the amateur game), even though I liked the idea. Bigger clubs than us have had issues and then there’s weddings and holidays in the summer that take players away.
“There was a staggered start to the league for various reasons with some clubs starting in March or April or May. We’ve found ourselves up against strong clubs’ first teams, then a team could call a game off. Earlier in the year we drew 10-10 with Stanningley ‘A’; a week later they beat us 74-6. They didn’t have the same 17 at all.”
Rugby league’s development summer league was designed to get more lads – footballers, rugby union players or newcomers – getting into the 13-a-side code.
Watling added: “With our more experienced players going back to their main clubs (Acorn and Heworth), we’re left with novices and lads coming into rugby league. They were enjoying it but you can get disheartened. It’s no good fielding lads who want to get playing rugby league and finding they’re going up against some top players in the National Conference.”
He added: “Hopefully it will get sorted for next year.
“We’re going to keep training and hopefully get friendlies every so often. We’ve got a lot of new players and we want to keep them, not dwindle away.”