A RECORD number of 83 teams, spread across eight divisions, will contest the 2020 Yorkshire Men’s League, which kicks off on March 28.

The competition used to feature a Worth Village side, but they left in 2018 to rejoin the Pennine League. That means the only current Keighley representatives are Keighley Albion, who feature in Division Two.

They finished third last season, but could do nothing to stop runaway winners, Wyke, who won all 17 of their games and racked up 742 points in the process. But the Bradford side will be disappointed to now only find themselves one tier higher.

Their application to play in the National Conference League this season was rejected last winter, but coaching director, Ian Wormald, was still hopeful that the club might find themselves granted a Premier Division place for 2020.

It wasn't to be, but they will still fancy themselves as strong favourites to win Division One this year.

In terms of new teams in the YML, Sherwood Wolf Hunt, who recently featured in the Coral Challenge Cup for the first time, losing 38-6 to Bradford outfit West Bowling in the second round, are one of them.

Long-standing chairman Adam Bates commented: “We are very grateful for the opportunity to join the Yorkshire Men’s League this year. As a club we're always looking to build and grow the sport in North Nottinghamshire.

“We're excited at the prospect of fielding two sides, the other in the Midlands competition.

“To allow our club to continue to grow, it is important for us to be able to offer more opportunities to test the players at the appropriate standard, as well as having an enhanced playing schedule.”

Also making their bow - and coached by Betfred Super League’s Hull and England star Jake Connor - is Ovenden who will make their debut in the competition in Division One.

The club has just received funds to improve their facilities from the Rugby League World Cup 2021's CreatedBy grant programme.

Connor said: “After having numerous successful winter seasons, we feel the need to be playing in a more structured set up and find the YML is the perfect platform for us to do that.

“We plan on having a really good go in Division One this summer and our aim is to get promotion and build a team ready to challenge for the title in years to come, especially as we will have excellent facilities for the guys by then.

“I’m looking forward to the season ahead, good luck to all the teams this year.”

Other new clubs include Almondbury Spartans, who will be entering two sides, their firsts in Division One and an ‘A’ team in Division Five, while Fryston Warriors return with a new-look team based on their emerging young talent.

Bentley are out to secure a second successive Premier Division title and there will again be a triple-header grand final for the sides in the Premier and Divisions One and Two, to be held at Featherstone Rovers on September 26.

The YML is, once more, running a merit league for developing clubs, and the YML Lionhearts representative side will tour Belgrade later in the summer.

This is part of a three-year reciprocal development agreement with the Serbians, who won the two internationals, at York Acorn and Stanningley, last season.

Kelly Barrett, RFL Head of Delivery Community Game Competition, noted: “The Yorkshire Men’s League continues to grow year on year, and 2020 will see the highest number of teams the league has had in its nine year existence.

“The 83 teams who will participate this season make it the largest adult playing league in the country. We wish all the teams good fortune for the season ahead.”


Premier: Brighouse Rangers and Queensbury

Division One: Wyke

Division Two: Drighlington and Keighley Albion

Division Three: Odsal Sedbergh

Division Four: Queensbury A, West Bowling Academy, Wibsey Warriors, Wyke Academy

Division Five: Allerton Bywater and Birkenshaw Bluedogs