Captain Jake Brady’s determined to help Leeds Tykes rise once again
The West Yorkshire club, who saw the 2020-21 National One campaign cancelled without a ball being kicked in October, had hoped to soon be in action in a National Clubs Association Cup.
However, with the country back in lockdown, that, too, was called off last month meaning Tykes and many of their rivals could be out of action until the 2021-22 campaign gets underway.
Following Yorkshire Carnegie’s relegation from the Championship last April, it was decided to revert back to the former name of Tykes in a bid to breathe new life into the troubled club.
Experienced lock Brady was keen to stay on to help under director of rugby Phil Davies’s command only for ongoing frustrations due to coronavirus.
“You can’t help but be disappointed a little bit,” Brady told The Yorkshire Post.
“Yes, the writing was on the wall in terms of the competition for quite a long time.
“It would have been nice to take part in the Cup that was proposed but that wasn’t to be with the timescale.
“With this lockdown, there just was not enough time to fit that in before next season started so that was canned, too.
“But that’s not to say we couldn’t play friendly games when the lockdown laws permit. Hopefully we will get to do that. For me, it was an easy decision to stay (after relegation).
“Speaking to Phil, when he came in (last January) he made me captain pretty early doors and was very open with me about what he wanted to happen in the future. As soon as I heard about that, I wanted to be a part of it.
“Phil’s got the experience, the knowledge, the connections and everything needed to get the club back to where it should be.
“I’m really looking forward to putting the plan into action. It’s an honour and a privilege to have Leeds Tykes on the shirt again.”
Tykes had been grouped with Huddersfield, Sheffield Tigers, Hull and Hull Ionians for the Cup competition and Brady hopes they will still see some action at some point.
Even if that does not happen, the former Harrogate captain believes such an enforced lay-off could see people at least embracing the sport more.
Brady, 32, said: “I think they will. There’s definitely a big appetite from the sport and spectators – not just Leeds Tykes.
“All the other rugby clubs around the area, people are just desperate to get out and watch some live sport again. People have really missed it.
“Hopefully, the clubs around here – and all over the country – can survive and when they open the doors again and are able to play, the players will have been able to get healthy, strong and fit over this year off and get back to playing for a spectacle for people to get behind.
“With more than a year off, they might even appreciate it more than they did before; that tends to happen when you’ve lost something for a little bit doesn’t it?”
Brady, though, worries what will happen in the Championship where there are genuine fears the competition will not get started next month because of ongoing financial issues.
The Government is only offering loans, not grants, to aid clubs in light of the pandemic and – with no crowds in grounds for the foreseeable future – many feel they will be unable to repay.
With the added and significant costs of Covid-testing and the Rugby Football Union having already significantly slashed the funding for the second-tier, Ampthill are one club who have said they may not be able to afford to take part this season.
Brady admitted: “I feel really sorry for the Championship clubs, players and fans. They’ve been in no man’s land now for quite a few years.
“It’s not just down to the coronavirus; that’s just shone a spotlight on it. Having played in it, I can tell you it is a fully professional league in terms of standards, physicality and everything else that those teams bring.
“But, to be honest, it’s not been funded right for a long time.
“It is now really showing, particularly with Ampthill. They’ve worked hard to get up through the leagues over the years and now they are in the Championship it does seem unfair that they are going to be penalised by this lack of funding and left questioning whether they can even put a team out in the league.
“The players who are at those clubs, it’s their livelihoods and, for many, their full-time jobs so I just hope a resolution is found where the Championship clubs can build and become stronger.
“It needs to be sorted out.”
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