The Midlands Merit League was founded in late 2005 to support the growth of rugby league in non-heartland areas. Originally intended as a stand-alone league, support from the Rugby Football League meant that it could be administered as part of the Rugby League Conference set-up. Interest quickly gathered with 13 teams showing an interest in participating in the inaugural season - 8 eventually participated. The first ever game took place on April 8, 2006 at All Saints Sports College, Sheffield, where the Sheffield Forgers beat the Chesterfield Spires by 58 points to 8.
The league was renamed Rugby League Merit League (RLML) for the 2008 season due to its increased geographical spread with teams from the North of England taking part. 2009 saw the largest ever entry, with over 30 teams split into two leagues; "Yorkshire and Humber" and "North West" with the Midlands Rugby League becoming its own competition using merit league rules.
2010: Accrington Panthers, Ashton Bears, Burnley & Pendle, Chester Gladiators A, Crewe & Nantwich Steamers A, East Lancashire Vikings, Ellesmere Port, Little Hulton Reds, Mancunians RL A, Wigan Riversiders B
Teams provided to the Rugby League Conference