IT IS ironic that when local amateur RL clubs are at last set to return to action on Saturday, all of them are away from home.
In Pennine League Division One East, Dewsbury Moor are at Kippax Welfare, which promises to be a keen contest with both sides neck and neck in the scramble for a top-four place. It will be the first time the teams have met this season as they battle for a place when the division is re-formed.
It will be no surprise for Thornhill Trojans to find that they start the new year on the road as they chalk up 15 weeks without a home game.
They visit Sharlston A in Division Three and Thornhill are seeking a league double, having beaten Sharlston 34-10 in their last home fixture on September 25. It must seem like years now for the people at Overthorpe Park.
Dewsbury Celtic are in Yorkshire League Division Two action with a trip to Moorends. The sides are level in the table in third place with Celtic having played a game more.
In the Yorkshire Third Division, leaders Shaw Cross A have a keen game at unbeaten Castleford Panthers A, who are two points behind them with three games in hand.
White Rose travel to third-placed Methley, who are two points behind Cross having played two games fewer so things could open up this weekend.
n Shaw Cross Sharks are the first local RL club on the Wembley trail as they meet Stanley Rangers in the Challenge Cup preliminary round at Leeds Road tomorrow (2pm).
It will be quite a test for the Sharks, who are in National Conference Division Two, while Stanley are well placed and going strongly for promotion in Division One.
Neither side has played for seven weeks and there is no knowing what the fitness levels are after the festive celebrations.
Sharks full-back Pat Foulstone played for Batley Bulldogs against Dewsbury last Sunday so may well be ruled out.
Whoever wins is likely to have a first round bye because scheduled opponents, Widnes St Maries, have been involved in a dispute with the Conference League and as a result have withdrawn from the competition when they were top of the First Division.
The Widnes second team play in North West Counties Division Two and the first team now intend to continue their season with friendly fixture, although this seems set to rule them out of playing in the Challenge Cup.