Rugby Football League vice president Peter Hornby has paid tribute to the community game as the 2017 Open Age summer season swings into action.
The North West Men's League, Kingstone Press National Conference League and Yorkshire Men's League Forty20 Cup all kicked off over the weekend, with leagues and competitions set to follow all over the country in the coming weeks.
"Standards have never been higher in the community game," said Hornby, who was appointed to the role of vice president in July 2015.
"While we perhaps don't have as many players as previous years, the level of play in the community game has never been healthier, as we have seen in the early rounds of the Challenge Cup."
Hornby, 74, is a stalwart of Rugby League in Cumbria, having served as a Director at Barrow Raiders and been involved at Ulverston ARLFC for a number of years.
He added: "There have already been some superb games and there will be more to come all over the country. The community game is getting stronger and I'd urge anyone to get down to watch your local team - there is so much talent in the game, it's always great to watch."
Rugby Football League vice president - Peter Hornby
The 2017 Open Age summer season got underway last weekend
Hornby also had this message for any players thinking of giving Rugby League a try:
"It's the best game in the world," he said.
"The camaraderie and team spirit it brings is second to no other sport.
"In terms of a community, family sport, Rugby League is unequal.
"Whether you're a volunteer, player, coach or referee, we're one big family and I'd like to extend my best wishes to everyone involved in the community game for the coming year."
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