West Cumbrian sides in the National Conference League have had confirmation that the season has been suspended for 2020.

NCL chairman Trevor Hunt announced at the weekend that they felt the season could not be completed this year due to the lockdown and with no date for it to be lifted in sight.

But teams could compete in regional groups with no promotion or relegation but a chance to play some local derbies to help out clubs.

This could mean that Cumbrian sides including Wath Brow Hornets, Egremont Rangers, Kells, Hensingham and Millom could be brought together in a mini grouping, potentially with other county sides Askam and Barrow Island, although nothing has yet been decided.

The statement from Mr Hunt read: “These are tough and unprecedented times, and the NCL Management Committee is determined to try and do whatever it can to ensure that when we do get a season under way, that we minimise the outgoings for the clubs at the same time as trying to maximise the incoming revenues wherever we can.

“The safety and wellbeing of the players plus the sustainability of our member clubs are the main priorities now, and we are working towards undertaking options that will hopefully deliver on those fronts.

“It is with some sadness that the NCL Management has unanimously decided to suspend the 2020 season for one that will be replaced by a series of Regionalised Group fixtures.

“There will be no promotion or relegation, but by the creation of a number of local derby games it is hoped that the clubs will be able to maximise revenue from good-sized attendances at the same time saving on the amount of travel that will be required.

“There has been much speculation on how the Regional Groupings will be determined and how many fixtures they will provide. That will very much depend on a fixture start date being provided by the RFL in agreement with HM Government.

“Suffice to say we have a number of options that give a varying number of fixtures and which are flexible in the way they can be organised to give more or less games as the pandemic events unfold.

“What we will do is provide a meaningful competition that will give the players, coaches and fans something to aspire to, along with an ultimate Championship Final.

“However, as I say, the details will be revealed once we have a commencement date to work towards.”