WHARFEDALE fans could be in for a festive treat after all with head coach Jon Feeley confirming the club are in talks to still hold their annual Boxing Day friendly against North Ribblesdale.

It seemed like we were in for a grim finale to what has been a grim year, but with the shock announcement 15-a-side contact rugby is allowed to return, finally there may be light at the end of the tunnel.

Training was able to resume on December 2 and organised friendlies can take place 16 days later.

With Wharfedale and North Yorkshire attaining tier 2 status, it also means supporters are permitted to go watch their team.

Feeley would love to provide the Avenue faithful with the perfect Christmas present.

He said: "North Ribb are keen so we are looking to put a risk assessment and a plan in place to see if we can get that game on. It all depends on how we can manage the situation.

"We are in tier two so are allowed a max 2000 spectators.

"I’m not saying we are going to get that many coming along but there is a large interest in live sport after such a dearth in the area."

Like many coaches up and down the country, the Greens boss was shocked when the community game received the green light to get going again.

Feeley added: "It is not in parallel with what is happening in the rest of the country.

"I am not sure how we come out of lockdown to a higher level of rugby.

"There is an inconsistency between what is happening in society and what is happening on the pitch. That is why there is a surprise.

"The difficult thing for clubs is there is a balancing act between what is right by the communities they serve and what is right by the club.

"It is very difficult to balance that when you think about people who are travelling in from far and wide who are going to be crossing boundaries and other tiers."

On the field, restrictions have been implemented with the biggest discussion point coming from scrums and mauls being replaced by free kicks.

"The new hybrid game looks very much like a game of rugby league with lineouts," said Feeley.

"It is going to be very confrontational and all about keeping possession.

"It will favour teams who are able to grind out and play standard one up rugby. I am hoping we can do something different there."

As for the new year, Feeley expects competitive rugby to not be back until the 2021/22 season gets underway.

"The January 16 kick off date for the regional NCA Cup is politely ambitious.

"It is difficult to know how serious to take it. We have already had three start dates postponed so the chances of a fourth one in the middle of winter (going ahead) is pretty slim.

"If they relax restrictions for Christmas then raise them again it is difficult to see how it will progress.

"Realistically we are looking at September 2021."