Former Batley Bulldogs and Sheffield Eagles star Craig Lingard has taken over the reigns as Head Coach at Bramley Buffaloes following the departure of club veteran Chris Gardner.

Lingard spent ten years at Mount Pleasant before turning his hand to coaching in 2008 with a spell on the staff at the Bulldogs before assisting Bradford Bulls but he’s excited by the challenge that lies ahead as the Buffaloes prepare for the 2012 Conference Three season.

“The restructuring of the Rugby League pyramid and the arrival of the winter teams within the summer competition has meant we’ve dropped down in the pecking order but the club is as ambitious as ever and we still have long term plans to get back into the professional game.

“I hope I can play a small part in pushing the team in the right direction. Bramley is a famous and proud Rugby League name that, thanks to the monumental efforts of the supporters and local community over the past 12 years, has re-established itself within the game.

“We have a long way to go to get to where the club wants to be but we are all hopeful that the 2012 season will be one step in the right direction,” added Craig who follows in the footsteps of former Buffaloes coaches Mark Butterill and Paul Cook who have both assumed roles within the professional game with Featherstone Rovers and Huddersfield Giants respectively.

“Of course I’d like a long and successful career in coaching,” explained Craig who works as a Prison Officer “but first things first and that is getting Bramley ready for the new season after what have been a testing couple of years for the club.

“We are on the look out for new players and will be holding an evening for anyone interested in pulling on the famous black and amber jersey on March 20th at the Arthur Miller Stadium, 7:30 pm. We hope players keen to make a name for themselves from across the area will turn up and find out more about what we have planned.

“There are many Bramley players who have made the step up to the professional game in recent years and we hope we can unearth a few more gems in the coming months!” added Craig.

Chris Gardner left the club recently to focus on his business after 8 years of sterling service to the club including a role last year as Head Coach and Bramley chair Martyn Cheney was keen to thank him for his efforts.

“We are sorry that Chris came to this decision but the committee would love him to be involved with the club in the future.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Chris for his efforts since 2004, both on and off the field, supporting the club in all its endeavours.

“Without Chris we wouldn’t have got a team on the pitch in 2011 and he played a big part in keeping this club alive.

“Craig takes over the role for the new season and we are all delighted to have got such a well known Rugby League name on board,” added Martyn.

The club kicks off their 2012 season on Friday 20th April with a match against Warrington Wizards at 8pm. Season-tickets are now on sale from the website. For more details visit www.bramleybuffs.com or the club’s Facebook page.