It appears that the name of Bramley will disappear once again from the Rugby League map after a decision by the National Conference League to reject their application for entry into a league in which they’ve competed over the past season.
The original Bramley Rugby League Club folded in 1999 after years of mismanagement but supporters soon rallied around and the club was reborn in 2004 playing as the Buffaloes in what was the fourth tier of the national summer game.
Since then the West Leeds side has experienced unprecedented success with two Grand Final triumphs and a further three appearances in the showpiece occasion as well as five Minor Premiership titles.
Martyn Cheney, a lifelong supporter of the Amber and Black and chairman since 2004, commented: “It looks like we’ve been hung out to dry by the NCL for no clear, apparent reason and its a decision that has angered a lot of people with Rugby League in their blood
“We revived the club along unique lines and created a template for supporter ownership that has been replicated at many other clubs and organisations and is held up by the likes of Supporters Direct as an example to all. That will now count for nothing after we were refused entry into the competition we’ve been involved in for the past twelve months, a competition that pushed us a further three levels down the Rugby League pyramid.
“Its a farcical decision. We reached the Play Offs last season and had high hopes of moving the club forward under Craig Lingard, the latest in a long line of top class up and coming coaches that we’ve employed.
“We play our home games at Stanningley and our relationship with that club has been a symbiotic one from the start. We all benefit especially when our hundreds of loyal supporters have turned out in force at our home games and it appears the ground sharing arrangement has counted against us.
“We intend to appeal but we are not hopeful. It appears to be the end of the road for the Bramley dream as there is simply no point dropping down even more levels when our real objective all along was to re establish the club within the professional ranks. There is simply no appetite or enthusiasm on the part of our volunteer directors and players who have committed thousands of hours over the last 12 years or our fantastic army of supporters who have stuck with us throughout.
“The last ten seasons have provided all of us with some fantastic experiences and memories and we’ve been truly ground breaking at times in our approach to branding, PR and marketing especially when it came to building links with likeminded sponsors such as Unison, RMT and the Co-operative Society. It looked like we were on track to return to the top echelons of the game at one point but we have now been let down badly by the Rugby League authorities.
“It’s a decision that is perplexing and certainly diminishes our enthusiasm for what is the greatest game. Maybe the Bramley name will emerge again in the future but at this moment in time it appears that the Amber and Black are no more and Rugby League will be the poorer for it,” concluded Martyn.