OTLEY Rugby Club say they are sad to see ground sharers Old Grovians depart from the Yorkshire league system and have called for action.

At the weekend, the Bradford side, who played at Cross Green last season, announced they will no longer be participating in Yorkshire Two.

Grovians say this is because they lack the playing resources to continue with a number of serious injuries, retirements and players being lured to clubs in higher divisions.

“Very sad about this,” Otley tweeted.

“We welcomed Old Grovians to our home, we became their friends, we trained with them, we drank with them but the regs (regulations) wouldn’t allow us to play with them - something has to change.”

On the future of the club, founder John Hinchliffe told the Wharfedale Observer's sister paper the Telegraph & Argus: "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 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 read: “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 to be able to play league rugby. Offering financial rewards to players is not something we’ve ever entertained as a club.

“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 is a significant number of players playing at a higher level that have come through our system.

“We’d like to thank every single player and helper over the past 14 or so years.

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

“We’d like to place on record our thanks to Otley. Last season was brilliant playing out of rugby club, we could not have asked more from them and we wish them all the best for next season and beyond.

“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.

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