National Conference League

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National Conference League
Country England
DivisionsPremier Division
Division One
Division Two
Division Three
Number of teams49
Level on pyramid4 to 7
Promotion toLeague 1 via application to RFL
Relegation to
Domestic cup(s)Challenge Cup
League 1 Cup
Conference Challenge Trophy
Current champions
TV partnersFreeSports

The National Conference League (known as the Kingstone Press National Conference League for sponsorship reasons) is the top British amateur rugby league competition in the Rugby Football League pyramid, and as such is the leading amateur rugby league competition in England. Since 2012, the National Conference operates over a summer season in line with the professional game.


The league was founded as the BARLA National League for the 1986–87 season with 10 teams: Dudley Hill, Egremont Rangers, Heworth, Leigh Miners Welfare (now Leigh Miners Rangers), Milford Marlins, Millom, Pilkington Recs, West Hull, Wigan St Patrick's and Woolston Rovers. The original NCL concept was one team per town.

The league added a second division in 1989, and expanded to three divisions (now named premier, first and second as opposed to first and second) along with a rebrand to the current name of National Conference League in 1993.

Somewhat confusingly, in the late 1990s and 2000s another major amateur competition was also titled conference: the Rugby League Conference (RLC), which operated a summer season as opposed to the traditional winter season retained by the NCL. The move to a summer season by the NCL in 2012 and a reorganisation by the RFL resulted in a merger of the leagues and the creation of a new NCL 3rd division out of the old RLC National Division, which was replaced by the Conference League South in 2013.


The National Conference League consists of four divisions. Teams can be promoted and relegated through all four divisions, and teams can also be relegated from Division Three into the regional leagues. For the 2018 season, there are three divisions of 12 teams, whilst the bottom tier consists of 13 teams.

Although it is considered the tier below League 1, teams are not promoted and relegated between the amateur NCL and the professional game, although NCL teams do play in the League 1 Cup and Challenge Cup.




Premier Division
12 clubs – 3 relegations


Division One
12 clubs – 3 promotions, 3 relegations


Division Two
12 clubs – 3 promotions, 3 relegations


Division Three
13 clubs – 3 promotions, bottom 2 clubs seek re-election

Clubs in 2019[edit]

Premier Division Division One Division Two Division Three
Egremont Rangers Bradford Dudley Hill Askam Barrow Island
Hunslet Club Parkside Featherstone Lions Crosfields Beverley
Kells Ince Rose Bridge Dewsbury Moor Maroons Blackbrook
Myton Warriors Leigh Miners Rangers Drighlington Clock Face Miners
Normanton Knights Castleford Lock Lane East Leeds Dewsbury Celtic
Rochdale Mayfield Milford Marlins Hull Dockers Eastmoor Dragons
Siddal Oulton Raiders Hunslet Warriors Gateshead Storm
Thatto Heath Crusaders Pilkington Recs Leigh East Millom
Underbank Rangers Shaw Cross Sharks Saddleworth Rangers Oldham St Annes
Wath Brow Hornets Skirlaugh Stanningley Salford City Roosters
West Hull Thornhill Trojans West Bowling Stanley Rangers
Wigan St Patricks York Acorn Wigan St Judes Waterhead Warriors
Woolston Rovers


Season Premier Division Division One Division Two Division Three
1986–87 Heworth
1987–88 Milford Marlins
1988–89 West Hull
1989–90 Bradford Dudley Hill Saddleworth Rangers
1990–91 Leigh East Barrow
1991–92 Wigan St Patricks West Hull
1992–93 Saddleworth Rangers Rochdale Mayfield
1993–94 Woolston Rovers Heworth Oldham St Annes
1994–95 Woolston Rovers Millom Eastmoor Dragons
1995–96 Woolston Rovers Beverley Wigan St Judes
1996–97 West Hull Askam Redhill
1997–98 Egremont Rangers Skirlaugh Featherstone Lions
1998–99 West Hull Redhill Ideal Isberg
1999–00 West Hull Oulton Raiders Eastmoor Dragons
2000–01 West Hull Leigh East Thatto Heath Crusaders
2001–02 West Hull West Bowling Crosfield
2002–03 Siddal Thatto Heath Crusaders Wath Brow Hornets
2003–04 Siddal Wath Brow Hornets East Hull
2004–05 Leigh Miners Rangers Shaw Cross Sharks Ince Rose Bridge
2005–06 Oulton Raiders West Hull Castleford Panthers
2006–07 Skirlaugh Rochdale Mayfield Waterhead
2007–08 East Hull Wigan St Judes Millom
2008–09 Siddal Wath Brow Hornets Myton Warriors
2009–10 Leigh East Thatto Heath Crusaders Eccles
2010–11 Thatto Heath Crusaders Oulton Raiders Hunslet Warriors
2012 Wath Brow Hornets Egremont Rangers East Leeds
2013 West Hull East Leeds Normanton Knights Kells
2014 West Hull Oulton Raiders Kells Featherstone Lions
2015 Leigh Miners Rangers Kells Millom Hunslet Club Parkside
2016 Siddal Thatto Heath Crusaders Hunslet Club Parkside Crossfields
2017 Siddal Hunslet Club Parkside Oulton Raiders West Bowling

See also[edit]

External links[edit]