The Sheffield Eagles playing their first match in over a year gives hope to sports clubs in Sheffield

As the days and the grass grow longer, the birds start singing and the temperature rises, like Spring sport in Sheffield is experiencing something of a rebirth.

Yes, the city's football clubs have struggled on the pitch over the last 12 months, but they have at least been on the pitch.

The Sheffield Eagles rugby league club haven't played a competitive match in over a year. The Sheffield Steelers ice hockey club haven't either. Sheffield FC - the World's oldest football team - have played just six matches.

Tonight though, the Eagles make their long awaited return to action when Mark Aston's men take on York in the first round of the Challenge Cup.

Olympic Legacy Park, Sheffield Credit: ITV Calendar

The downside - the match will take place at Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium due to construction work at their soon-to-be new home the Olympic Legacy Park and no fans will be there to see it.

Sheffield Eagles Head Coach Mark Aston Credit: ITV Calendar

The Eagles will move back to Sheffield next year.

Sheffield FC, the world's oldest football club, also hope to move back to the city after 20 years playing in Dronfield, North Derbyshire. This month the club have unveiled plans for a new 4,000 seat stadium to be built in the Meadowhead area of Sheffield.

Sheffield FC Credit: ITV Calendar

After winning the Challenge Cup last March, little did the Sheffield Steelers know back then that although the champagne was no longer on ice they'd also be off the ice for well over a year. 

Sheffield Arena, home of the Sheffield Steelers Credit: PA

If all goes well crowds will flock back to elite ice hockey from June. In the meantime the Steelers and 3 other clubs will play a mini league next month behind closed doors.

Gradually, spring is bringing with it a rebirth of sport in Sheffield.

After a year in the dark, it's hoped these clubs can now enjoy a bright future.