COMPETITIVE matches have been put on hold until January, but a Tyne Valley team is pointing to the positives.

The RFU recently announced that, with the exception of Premiership, Championship and Premier 15s rugby, no organised RFU or non-RFU Leagues will be played before January 2021 at the earliest.

And despite an empty fixture diary for this Autumn, Prudhoe & Stocksfield Rugby Club continue with preparations for the season ahead.

The club returned to training in small groups in June after lockdown had cancelled the end of last season and soon expanded to include around 20 team members.

"We try and keep the contact to a minimum between players in training," vice captain Yannick Debil explained.

"The priority has been keeping all the players active and fit despite all of the recent interruptions and restrictions."

Touch rugby training sessions has been enforced instead of contact to avoid injury and reduce health risks.

"It's important to keep people interested in touch rugby which is exhausting but understandable," Yanick said.

"I haven't seen a buzz like this around the club since I joined seven years ago."

Throughout lockdown local businesses, organisations and sports clubs honoured the work of the health service, praised local communities and fund-raised for charity.

And players at Prudhoe & Stocksfield teamed up to recognise the local effort.

The club fund-raised for the mental health charity Mind and created t-shirts, which provided local businesses the opportunity to advertise.

Yanick said: "We wanted to help in any way we could, and although the total hasn't been revealed yet, around £400 to $500 for a small club like us is a great effort."

For now, the team is looking forward to the competitive rugby kick off, scheduled for January.

"We're making sure we keep on top of the safety precautions and ensure the players know we're taking it seriously," Yanick added.

"We see it as a positive and time to prepare. It's frustrating but we're taking the positives and when January comes we will be the best prepared team in the league.