Enthusiasts ensure end to Bramley's five-year exile

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The Independent Online

One of rugby league's oldest names will return to the game tomorrow when Bramley end their five-year exile. The club from west Leeds fielded a professional side for 103 years, until they dropped out of the Rugby League in 1999. This weekend, the side once known as The Villagers and now, with a more contemporary ring, The Buffaloes, are back as members of National League Three.

That marks a successful struggle by a handful of enthusiasts who refused to accept that their club could die. "Although if we hadn't got in this time, we would have chucked the towel in," said Bramley's marketing director, Rob Wilkinson.

The willingness of Stanningley, an amateur club on their doorstep, to take them in aided their re-admittance. Finding players has not been a problem, mixing good local amateurs and young players from the Academy sides at professional clubs.

"We've set out to recruit young players who see Bramley as a shop window," said Wilkinson. They start tomorrow under the coaching of the former Bradford player, Phil Hellawell, when Sheffield Hillsborough Hawks are the first visitors to their new base.