National League 1

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National League 1
England Rugy text logo.svg
Founded1987; 34 years ago (1987)
Country England
Number of teams15
Current championsRichmond (3rd title)
(2019–20)
Most championshipsCoventry, Otley, Richmond (3 titles)
WebsiteNational League 1
Current: 2021–22 National League 1

National League 1, (which was known before September 2009 as National Division Two), is the lowest level of three in domestic rugby union competition, England. It was known as Courage League National Division Three when founded in 1987.[1]

The 2019–20 season ended before all the matches were completed because of the coronavirus pandemic and the RFU used a best playing record formula to decide the final table.[2] Richmond are the current champions. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 2020–21 season was cancelled. The league usually consists of sixteen teams with all the teams playing each other on a home and away basis to make a total of thirty matches each. For the 2021-22 season there are only fifteen teams due to the withdrawal of Old Elthamians in August 2021. The Rugby Football Union (RFU) approved a new structure for the National Leagues from the 2022–23 season. The league will be reduced to 14 teams, there will be a two-week break over Christmas and protected weekend breaks through the season. The competition structure will be reviewed every three years.[3]

2021–22[edit]

Participating teams and locations[edit]

Twelve of the sixteen teams participated in the preceding season's competition. The 2019–20 champions, Richmond, were promoted to the 2020–21 RFU Championship, swapping places with bottom club, Leeds Tykes, who were relegated from the 2019–20 RFU Championship. Sides relegated from the 2019–20 National League 1 were; Canterbury, Hull Ionians and Rotherham Titans.

Teams promoted into the division were; Caldy and Taunton Titans, champions of 2019–20 National League 2 North and 2019–20 National League 2 South respectively, along with south runners up Tonbridge Juddians, who had a higher points average than the north's runner up Fylde. Taunton Titans and Tonbridge Juddians make their National League 1 debuts.

League table[edit]

2021–22 National League 1 Table watch · edit · discuss
Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Losing bonus Points
1 Rosslyn Park 11 10 0 1 368 174 194 7 1 48
2 Cinderford 12 9 0 3 375 265 110 8 3 47
3 Chinnor 11 6 1 4 323 259 64 9 4 39
4 Sale FC 11 8 0 3 299 238 61 5 1 38
5 Cambridge 12 6 2 4 282 215 67 6 2 36
6 Rams 10 7 0 3 241 210 31 5 2 35
7 Caldy 11 6 2 3 275 272 3 4 1 33
8 Blackheath 12 4 0 8 261 285 −24 4 7 27
9 Birmingham Moseley 11 5 0 6 207 274 −67 2 2 24
10 Darlington Mowden Park 11 4 1 6 263 286 −23 3 3 24
11 Taunton Titans 11 4 0 7 259 342 −83 5 3 24
12 Bishop's Stortford 11 3 1 7 257 266 −9 4 2 20
13 Leeds Tykes 11 3 0 8 228 359 −131 4 3 19
14 Plymouth Albion 12 3 0 9 213 319 −106 4 2 18
15 Tonbridge Juddians 11 2 1 8 220 307 −87 3 3 16
  • If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
  1. Number of matches won
  2. Difference between points for and against
  3. Total number of points for
  4. Aggregate number of points scored in matches between tied teams
  5. Number of matches won excluding the first match, then the second and so on until the tie is settled
Green background is the promotion place. Pink background are relegation places.
Updated: 27 November 2021
Source: "National League 1". RFU.

History[edit]

When the Rugby union leagues were introduced in 1987 the division was known as Courage League National Division Three. Ten years later, in 1997, the league was restructured and the Premiership was introduced, which consisted of the top two divisions. Therefore, National 3 became the top league outside of the Premiership structure, and was renamed as National 1. In 2000–01 the Premiership was reduced to a single division and National 1 was renamed National 2. Following the formation of the professional RFU Championship in 2009 the league, once again, became known as National League 1, and is currently the lowest tier that is nationwide. The league previously consisted of fourteen clubs, but from 2009–10 increased to sixteen. Only one team was promoted to the RFU Championship and between 2009–10 and 2019–20 three teams were relegated to either National League 2 North or National League 2 South depending on geographical location.

Summary of tier three format[edit]

Year Name No of teams No of matches
1987–90 Courage National 3 12 11
1990–92 Courage National 3 13 12
1992–93 Courage National 3 12 11
1993–96 Courage National 3 10 18
1996–97 Courage National 3 16 30
1997–2000 Jewson National League 1 14 26
2000–09 National Division 2 14 26
2009–22 National League 1 16 30
2022– National League 1 14 26

Original teams[edit]

When the league system was formed in 1987, the following teams participated in the league, which was known as National 3. Thirty-three years on, only one team Plymouth Albion, are currently playing at this level. (Updated to 2019–20)

League results[edit]

National Division Three[edit]

National Division Three
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runners-up Relegated team(s) Ref
1987–88 12 11 Wakefield West Hartlepool Morley, Birmingham [4]
1988–89 12 11 Plymouth Albion Rugby Metropolitan Police, Maidstone [5]
1989–90 12 11 London Scottish Wakefield London Welsh [5]
1990–91 13 12 West Hartlepool Morley Metropolitan Police, Vale of Lune [6]
1991–92 13 12 Richmond Fylde Nuneaton, Lydney [7]
1992–93 12 11 Otley Havant Multiple teams[a] [8]
1993–94 10 18 Coventry Fylde Havant, Redruth [9]
1994–95 10 18 Bedford Blackheath Clifton, Exeter [10]
1995–96 10 18 Coventry Richmond[b] Fylde in last place (no relegation) [11]
1996–97 16 30 Exeter Fylde Walsall, Havant, Redruth, Clifton [12]

National League One[edit]

National League One
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runners-up Relegated team(s) Ref
1997–98 14 26 Worcester Leeds Tykes[c] No relegation [13]
1998–99 14 26 Henley Manchester Morley, Liverpool St Helens [14]
1999–00 14 26 Otley Birmingham & Solihull Reading, Blackheath [15]

National Division Two[edit]

National Division Two
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runners-up Relegated team(s) Ref
2000–01 14 26 Bracknell Rugby Camberley, Lydney, West Hartlepool [16]
2001–02 14 26 Orrell Plymouth Albion Rosslyn Park, Waterloo, Preston Grasshoppers [16]
2002–03 14 26 Penzance-Newlyn Henley Launceston, Kendal, Fylde [17]
2003–04 14 26 Sedgley Park Nottingham Rugby, Lydney [18]
2004–05 14 26 Doncaster Newbury Nuneaton, Bracknell, Rosslyn Park [19]
2005–06 14 26 Moseley Waterloo Orrell [20]
2006–07 14 26 Esher Launceston Bradford & Bingley, Barking, Harrogate [21]
2007–08 14 26 Otley Manchester Nuneaton, Henley Hawks, Halifax [22]
2008–09 14 26 Birmingham & Solihull Cambridge Westcombe Park, Southend, Mounts Bay, Waterloo [23]

National League One[edit]

National League One
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runners-up Relegated team(s) Ref
2009–10 16 30 Esher London Scottish Newbury, Nuneaton, Manchester [24]
2010–11 16 30 London Scottish Barking Redruth, Otley, Launceston [25]
2011–12 16 30 Jersey Ealing Trailfinders Birmingham & Solihull, Stourbridge, Barking
2012–13 16 30 Ealing Trailfinders Esher Macclesfield, Sedgley Park, Cambridge [26]
2013–14 16 30 Doncaster Knights Rosslyn Park Henley Hawks, Worthing Raiders, Hull Ionians [27]
2014–15 16 30 Ealing Trailfinders Rosslyn Park Tynedale, Macclesfield, Old Albanian
2015–16 16 30 Richmond Hartpury College Henley Hawks, Cinderford, Wharfedale
2016–17 16 30 Hartpury College Plymouth Albion Macclesfield, Blaydon[d]
2017–18 16 30 Coventry Darlington Mowden Park Fylde, Old Albanian, Hull Ionians
2018–19 16 30 Ampthill Old Elthamians Loughborough Students, Esher, Caldy
2019–20 16 25[e] Richmond Rams Hull Ionians, Canterbury, Rotherham Titans
2020–21 Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the season was cancelled.
Green background are the promotion places.

Number of league titles[edit]

Records[edit]

Note that all records are from 1996–97 season onwards as this is widely held as the dawn of professionalism across the English club game. It also offers a better comparison between seasons as the division team numbers are roughly equal (for example when league rugby union first started in 1987–88 the Courage League National Division Three had only 12 teams playing 11 games each, compared to 16 teams in 1996–97 playing 30 games (home & away)). Attendance records are from 2000 onwards unless otherwise specified. All records are up to date up till the end of the 2019–20 season.

League records[edit]

  • Most titles: 3
Otley (1992–93, 1999–00, 2007–08)
Coventry (1993-94, 1995-96, 2017-18)
Richmond (1991–92, 2015–16, 2019–20)
  • Most times promoted from division: 4
Richmond (1991–92, 1995–96, 2015–16, 2019–20)
  • Most times relegated from division: 4
Nuneaton (1991–92, 2004–05, 2007–08, 2009–10)
  • Most league points in a season: 148
Hartpury College (2016–17)
  • Least league points in a season: 0
West Hartlepool (2000–01), Manchester (2009–10)
  • Most points scored in a season: 1,455
Hartpury College (2016–17)
  • Least points scored in a season: 114
Manchester (2009–10)
  • Most points conceded in a season: 2,626
Manchester (2009–10)
  • Least points conceded in a season: 299
Henley Hawks (1998–99)[31]
  • Best points difference (For/Against): 1,078
Esher (2009–10)
  • Worst points difference (For/Against): –2,512
Manchester (2009–10)
  • Most games won in a season: 30
Hartpury College (2016–17)
  • Most games lost in a season: 30
Manchester (2009–10)
  • Most games drawn in a season: 4
Wharfedale (2005–06), Richmond (2012–13), Ampthill (2017–18)
  • Most bonus points in a season: 28
Ealing Trailfinders (2014–15)
Hartpury College (2016–17)

Match records[edit]

  • Largest home win:
124 – 5 Wharfedale at home to Manchester on 26 September 2009 (2009–10)
  • Largest away win:
148 – 0 Esher away to Manchester on 5 September 2009 (2009–10)
  • Most points scored in a match: 148
Esher away to Manchester on 5 September 2009 (2009–10)
  • Most tries scored in a match: 23
Blaydon away to Manchester on 19 September 2009 (2009–10)
  • Most conversions scored in a match: 19
Esher away to Manchester on 5 September 2009 (2009–10)
  • Most penalties scored in a match: 8
Esher at home to Preston Grasshoppers on 1 December 2001 (2001–02)
Stourbridge at home to Rosslyn Park on 25 October 2003 (2003–04)
Hartpury College at home to Rosslyn Park on 9 April 2016 (2015–16)
Rotherham Titans at home to Rosslyn Park on 15 September 2018 (2018–19)
  • Most drop kicks scored in a match: 3
Fylde away to Esher on 13 February 2016 (2015–16)

Player records[edit]

  • Most times top points scorer: 2
England Neil Hallett for Esher (2005–06, 2006–07)
  • Most times top try scorer: 3
England Phil Chesters for Ealing Trailfinders (2011–12, 2012–13, 2014–15)
  • Most points in a season: 399
England Sam Ulph for Esher (2009–10)
  • Most tries in a season: 42
England Phil Chesters for Ealing Trailfinders (2011–12)
  • Most points in a match: 51
England Sam Ulph for Esher away to Manchester on 5 September 2009 (2009–10)
  • Most tries in a match: 7
England Hugo Ellis for Rosslyn Park at home to Cambridge on 12 January 2013
  • Most conversions in a match: 18
England Sam Ulph for Esher away to Manchester on 5 September 2009 (2009–10)
  • Most penalties in a match: 8
England Jonathon Gregory for Esher at home to Preston Grasshoppers on 1 December 2001 (2001–02)
England Ben Harvey for Stourbridge at home to Rosslyn Park on 25 October 2003 (2003–04)
Wales Gareth Thompson for Hartpury College at home to Rosslyn Park on 9 April 2016 (2015–16)
England Alex Dolly for Rotherham Titans at home to Rosslyn Park on 15 September 2018 (2018–19)
  • Most drop kicks in a match: 3
England Chris Johnson for Fylde away to Esher on 13 February 2016 (2015–16)

Attendance records[edit]

[g]

  • Highest attendance (league game): 3,758
Coventry RFC at home to Hull Ionians on 28 April 2018 (2017–18)
  • Lowest attendance (league game): 50
West Hartlepool at home to Camberley on 31 March 2001 (2000–01)
  • Highest average attendance (club): 2,206
Jersey (2011–12)
  • Lowest average attendance (club): 180
Barking (2011–12)
  • Highest average attendance (season): 653 (2017–18)
  • Lowest average attendance (season): 463 (2004–05)

Top ten point scorers[edit]

As of the end of the games of 27 April 2019. Stats taken from 1996–97 season onwards and include regular league games only in National League 1 (no cup games). Points scored includes tries, drop kicks, penalties and conversions.[32]
Rank Nat Name Years Club(s) Points Apps Ratio
1 England Andrew Baggett 2001–08
2008–17
Wharfedale
Blaydon
1,707 409 4.2
2 England Neil Hallett 1999–02
2002–04
2004–10
2011–12
Rosslyn Park
Bracknell
Esher
Ealing Trailfinders
1,440 181 8.0
3 England Alastair Bressington 2004–05
2005–10, 2010–12
2010
Moseley
Stourbridge
Cinderford
1,201 147 8.2
4 England Lee Cholewa 1996–97
1998–99, 2000–05
2005–07
2010–11
Rotherham
Harrogate
London Welsh
London Scottish
1,168 146 8.0
5 England Chris Johnson 2012–16
2019, 2019-
Fylde
Sale FC
1,075 119 9.0
6 South Africa Clifford Hodgson 2012–2017
2019–[33]
Coventry
Birmingham Moseley
1,024
109
9.4
England Mark Bedworth 2005–10 Wharfedale 1,024 114 9.0
7 England Ben Harvey 1996–97
1999–00
2000–01
2001–05
Richmond
Worcester Warriors
Moseley
Stourbridge
987 118 8.4
8 England Jonathon Gregory 1996–97
2000–04
Richmond
Esher
970 84 11.5
9 England Jonathon Davies 1997–07 Wharfedale 946 198 4.8

(Bold denotes players still playing in National League 1)

Top ten try scorers[edit]

As of the end of the games of 27 April 2019. Stats taken from 1996–97 season onwards and include regular league games only in National League 1 (no cup games).[34]
Rank Nat Name Years Club(s) Tries Apps Ratio
1 England David Allen 2004–17 Blackheath 147 277 0.5
2 England Oliver Brennand 2011–17 Fylde 117 161 0.7
3 England Hugo Ellis 2012– Rosslyn Park 107 155 0.7
4 England Phil Chesters 2011–13, 2014–15 Ealing Trailfinders 105 82 1.3
5 England Jason Smithson 2007–17 Blaydon 96 224 0.4
6 South Africa Chris Malherbe 1998–99
2001–02
2002–11
Camberley
Kendal
Wharfedale
95 222 0.4
England Andrew Hodgson 1997–99, 2000–04, 2005–13, 2014–16 Wharfedale 95 264 0.4
7 South Africa Christoff Lombaard 2006–07, 2008–10
2012–15, 16-17
Cambridge
Old Albanian
81 151 0.5
8 England Nigel Baker 2009-12
2013-15, 2016
2015
2016-19
Stourbridge
Cinderford
Coventry
Ampthill
79 149 0.5
9 England Spencer Sutherland 2011-12
2012-18
2018-19
Coventry
Esher
Ampthill
78 148 0.5

(Bold denotes players still playing in National League 1)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool St Helens, Clifton, Aspatria, Askeans, Broughton Park and Plymouth Albion were the relegated teams. The large number of relegations was due to the restructuring of the league system for the 1993-94 season.
  2. ^ Rugby and Rotherham were also promoted.
  3. ^ London Welsh and Rugby were also promoted.
  4. ^ Only 2 teams relegated at the end of the 2016-17 season instead of 3 due to London Welsh being expelled from the RFU Championship in January 2017.[28]
  5. ^ Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom the RFU cancelled all rugby below the Premiership with most clubs in National League 1 having played 25 games, and a best playing record formula was used to decide the final table.[29][30]
  6. ^ Penzance & Newlyn are now known as the Cornish Pirates.
  7. ^ Note that due to poor attendance keeping by press and online sources means that the 2000–01 and 2003–04 seasons are excluded from these statistics due to lack of information expect in the case of lowest recorded league game attendance.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stephen Jones, ed. (1988). Rothmans Rugby Union Yearbook 1988–89. London: Rothmans Publications Ltd.
  2. ^ "RFU ends the 2019/20 rugby season in England". EnglandRugby. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  3. ^ "RFU approve future competition structure for 2022/23". ncarugby. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  4. ^ Stephen Jones, ed. (1988). Courage Leagues 1988–89. London: Queen Anne Press. ISBN 0356158845.
  5. ^ a b Tony Williams and Bill Mitchell, ed. (1990). Courage Clubs Championship. Official Rugby Union Club Directory 1990–91. Horsham: Burlington Publishing Co Ltd. ISBN 1873057024.
  6. ^ Stephen Jones, ed. (1991). Rothmans Rugby Union Yearbook 1991–92. London: Queen Anne Press. ISBN 0356202496.
  7. ^ "Courage Club Championship 1991/92". Moseley Rugby club. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Courage Clubs Championship-1992/93". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Courage Clubs Championship 1993/94". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  10. ^ "Courage Club Championships 1994/95". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  11. ^ Mick Cleary, ed. (1996). Rothmans Rugby Union Yearbook 1996–97. London: Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 0747277710.
  12. ^ Mick Cleary, ed. (1987). Rothmans Rugby Union Yearbook 1997–98. London: Headline Book Publishers. ISBN 074727732X.
  13. ^ "1997/98: Jewson National Division (formerly Courage League National Division 3)". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  14. ^ Mick Cleary and John Griffiths, ed. (1999). Rothmans Rugby Union Yearbook 1999–2000. London: Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 0747275319.
  15. ^ Stephen McCormack, ed. (2000). The Official RFU Club Directory 2000–2001. Harpenden: Queen Anne Press. ISBN 1852916273.
  16. ^ a b Stephen McCormack, ed. (2001). The Official RFU Club Directory 2001–2002. Harpender: Queen Anne Press. ISBN 1852916400.
  17. ^ Stephen McCormack (2002). The Official RFU Club Directory 2002–2003. Harpenden: Queen Anne Press. ISBN 1852916451.
  18. ^ "National Division 1 2003/04". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  19. ^ "2004/05: National League 2". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  20. ^ "2005/06: National League 2". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  21. ^ "2006/07: National League 2". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  22. ^ "2007/08: National League 2". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  23. ^ "2008/09: National League 2". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  24. ^ "2009/10: National League 1". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  25. ^ "Final League Tables 2010 – 2011". Trelawneys Army. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  26. ^ "English National League One Table". BBC. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  27. ^ "SSE National League 1". NCA. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  28. ^ "London Welsh: RFU refuses permission for Exiles to stay in Championship". BBC Sport. 24 January 2017.
  29. ^ "Following government advice, the RFU will suspend all rugby activity in England, at both professional and community level". England Rugby. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  30. ^ "RFU". www.englandrugby.com. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  31. ^ "Jewson National League 1 1998/99". rugbyarchive.net. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  32. ^ "National One All time leading scorers". Rugby Statbunker. 27 April 2019.
  33. ^ "Team news for tomorrow – Coventry Rugby". www.coventryrugby.co.uk. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  34. ^ "National One All time try scorers". Rugby Statbunker. 27 April 2019.

External links[edit]