National League 1

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National League 1
Current season or competition::
2016–17 National League 1
England Rugby text logo.svg
Sport Rugby union
Instituted 1987; 30 years ago (1987)
Number of teams 16
Country  England
Holders Hartpury College (2016–17)
Most titles Otley (3 titles)
Website National League 1

National League 1, (which was known before September 2009 as National Division Two), is the third level of domestic rugby union competition in England. It was known as Courage League National Division Three when founded in 1987.[1] This is the lowest level of the English rugby union league system which is nationwide. The league 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. There is one promotion place and three relegation places. The champions are promoted to the Greene King IPA Championship and the bottom three teams are relegated to either National League 2 North or National League 2 South (formerly National Division Three North and South) depending on the geographical location of the team.

Richmond are the champions and return to the RFU Championship, for the first time since 1996–97 season. Cinderford, Henley Hawks and Wharfedale are relegated.

Current season[edit]

Participating teams and locations[edit]

Twelve of the sixteen teams participated in last season's competition. The 2015–16 champions, Richmond, are promoted to the 2016–17 RFU Championship and are replaced by Birmingham Moseley (who changed their name from Moseley prior to the season) who are relegated from the 2015–16 RFU Championship. The three teams relegated last season, are Henley Hawks and Cinderford (both to the 2016–17 National League 2 South) and Wharfedale (2016–17 National League 2 North) - with Wharfedale dropping from the third tier for the first time in 20 years.[2][3][4] The promoted teams are Cambridge and Macclesfield champions of the 2015–16 National League 2 South and 2015–16 National League 2 North respectively, and Old Albanian who won the promotion play-off against Sedgley Park.[5][6][7]

Team Ground Capacity City/Area Previous season
Ampthill Dillingham Park 3,000 Ampthill, Bedfordshire 4th
Birmingham Moseley Billesley Common 5,000 (1,300 seats) Birmingham, West Midlands relegated from RFU Championship
Blackheath Well Hall 1,550 (550 seats) Eltham, Greenwich, Greater London 3rd
Blaydon Crow Trees 2,000 (400 seats) Swalwell, Tyne and Wear 11th
Cambridge Grantchester Road 1,250 Cambridge, Cambridgeshire promoted from National League 2 South (champions)
Coventry Butts Park Arena 4,000 Coventry, West Midlands 9th
Darlington Mowden Park Northern Echo Arena 25,000 Darlington, County Durham 6th
Esher Molesey Road 3,000 Hersham, Surrey 7th
Fylde Woodlands Memorial Ground 9,000 Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire 10th
Hartpury College College Stadium 2,000 Hartpury, Gloucestershire 2nd
Hull Ionians Brantingham Park 1,500 (240 seats) Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire 12th
Loughborough Students Loughborough University Stadium 3,000 Loughborough, Leicestershire 13th
Old Albanian Woollam Playing Fields 1,000 St Albans, Hertfordshire promoted from National League 2 South (play-off)
Macclesfield Priory Park 1,000+ (250 seats) Macclesfield, Cheshire promoted from National League 2 North (champions)
Plymouth Albion The Brickfields 8,500 Plymouth, Devon 8th
Rosslyn Park Priory Lane 2,000 Roehampton, London 5th

League table[edit]

2016–17 National League 1 Table watch · edit · discuss
Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Losing bonus Points
1 Hartpury College (P) 30 30 0 0 1455 532 923 28 0 148
2 Plymouth Albion 30 24 0 6 879 523 356 17 5 118
3 Ampthill 30 22 0 8 844 584 260 17 3 108
4 Coventry 30 20 1 9 974 733 241 17 2 101
5 Birmingham Moseley 30 20 0 10 854 682 172 15 3 98
6 Rosslyn Park 30 16 1 13 867 682 185 13 7 86
7 Blackheath 30 14 1 15 692 724 −32 13 4 75
8 Esher 30 13 0 17 828 854 −26 16 6 74
9 Old Albanian 30 13 0 17 749 926 −177 14 5 71
10 Darlington Mowden Park 30 13 1 16 695 791 −96 10 5 69
11 Loughborough Students 30 10 1 19 905 966 −61 16 8 66
12 Fylde 30 10 0 20 691 1050 −359 15 4 59
13 Hull Ionians 30 10 1 19 679 944 −265 9 7 58
14 Cambridge 30 8 1 21 779 994 −215 18 6 58
15 Blaydon (R) 30 8 2 20 642 1010 −368 10 6 52
16 Macclesfield (R) 30 4 1 25 579 1117 −538 8 5 31
  • Points system: 4 points for a win; 2 points for a draw; 1 point if a team loses by seven points or less (losing bonus); 1 point if the team scores four or more tries in a match (try bonus)
  • 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: 29 April 2017
Source: "National League 1". NCA Rugby. 


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 One, 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 is now promoted to the RFU Championship and since 2009–10 three teams are relegated to National League 2 North and/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– National Division 1 16 30

Original teams[edit]

When the league system was formed in 1987, the following teams participated in the league, which was known as National 3. Twenty-nine years on only two teams, Fylde and Plymouth Albion are currently playing at this level. (Updated to 2016–17)

List of champions[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 [8]
1988–89 12 11 Plymouth Albion Rugby Metropolitan Police, Maidstone [9]
1989–90 12 11 London Scottish Wakefield London Welsh [9]
1990–91 13 12 West Hartlepool Morley Metropolitan Police, Vale of Lune [10]
1991–92 13 12 Richmond Fylde Nuneaton, Lydney [11]
1992–93 12 11 Otley Havant Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool St Helens, Clifton, Aspatria, Askeans, Broughton Park, Plymouth Albion [12]
1993–94 10 18 Coventry Fylde Havant, Redruth [13]
1994–95 10 18 Bedford Blackheath Clifton, Exeter [14]
1995–96 10 18 Coventry Richmond, (Rugby and Rotherham also promoted) Fylde in last place (no relegation) [15]
1996–97 16 30 Exeter Fylde Walsall, Havant, Redruth, Clifton [16]
National League One
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runners-up Relegated team(s) Ref
1997–98 14 26 Worcester Leeds Tykes also promoted: London Welsh, Rugby (no relegation) [17]
1998–99 14 26 Henley Manchester Morley, Liverpool St Helens [18]
1999–00 14 26 Otley Birmingham & Solihull Reading, Blackheath [19]
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 [20]
2001–02 14 26 Orrell Plymouth Albion Rosslyn Park, Waterloo, Preston Grasshoppers [20]
2002–03 14 26 Penzance-Newlyn Henley Launceston, Kendal, Fylde [21]
2003–04 14 26 Sedgley Park Nottingham Rugby, Lydney [22]
2004–05 14 26 Doncaster Newbury Nuneaton, Bracknell, Rosslyn Park [23]
2005–06 14 26 Moseley Waterloo Orrell [24]
2006–07 14 26 Esher Launceston Bradford & Bingley, Barking, Harrogate [25]
2007–08 14 26 Otley Manchester Nuneaton, Henley Hawks, Halifax [26]
2008–09 14 26 Birmingham & Solihull Cambridge Westcombe Park, Southend, Mounts Bay, Waterloo [27]
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 [28]
2010–11 16 30 London Scottish Barking Redruth, Otley, Launceston [29]
2011–12 16 30 Jersey Ealing Trailfinders Birmingham & Solihull, Stourbridge, Barking
2012–13 16 30 Ealing Trailfinders Esher Macclesfield, Sedgley Park, Cambridge [30]
2013–14 16 30 Doncaster Knights Rosslyn Park Henley Hawks, Worthing Raiders, Hull Ionians [31]
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[a 1]
2017–18 16 30
Green background are the promotion places.
  1. ^ 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.[32]

League results[edit]

League information Start of season End of season
Season Name Teams Relegated to league Promoted to league Promoted from league Relegated from league
2000–01 National Division Two 14
2001–02 National Division Two 14
2002–03 National Division Two 14
2003–04 National Division Two 14
2004–05 National Division Two 14
2005–06 National Division Two 14
2006–07 National Division Two 14 None
  • Bradford & Bingley
  • Harrogate
2007–08 National Division Two 14
2008–09 National Division Two 14
2009–10 National League 1 16
2010–11 National League 1 16
2011–12 National League 1 16
2012–13 National League 1 16
2013–14 National League 1 16
2014–15 National League 1 16
2015–16 National League 1 16
2016–17 National League 1 16

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 2015–16 season.

League records[edit]

  • Most titles: 3
Otley (1992–93, 1999–00, 2007–08)
  • Most times promoted from division: 3
Rugby Lions (1988–89, 1995–96, 2000–01)
Fylde (1991–92, 1993–94, 1996–97)
Otley (1992–93, 1999–00, 2007–08)
Richmond (1991–92, 1995–96, 2015–16)
  • 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)[33]
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Most drop kicks in a match: 3
England Chris Johnson for Fylde away to Esher on 13 February 2016 (2015–16)

Attendance records[edit]

[a 1]

  • Highest attendance (league game): 3,648
Jersey at home to Rosslyn Park on 14 January 2012 (2011–12)
  • 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): 599 (2013–14)
  • Lowest average attendance (season): 463 (2004–05)

Notes;

  1. ^ 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.

Top ten point scorers[edit]

As of the end of the games of 30 April 2016. 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.[34]
Rank Nat Name Years Club(s) Points Apps Ratio
1 England Andrew Baggett 2001–08
2008–
Wharfedale
Blaydon
1,642 385 4.3
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 Mark Bedworth 2005–10 Wharfedale 1,024 114 9.0
6 South Africa Clifford Hodgson 2012– Coventry 1,012 93 10.9
7 England Chris Johnson 2012–16 Fylde 990 110 9.0
8 England Ben Harvey 1996–97
1999–00
2000–01
2001–05
Richmond
Worcester Warriors
Moseley
Stourbridge
987 118 8.4
9 England Jonathon Gregory 1996–97
2000–04
Richmond
Esher
970 84 11.5
10 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 30 April 2016. Stats taken from 1996–97 season onwards and include regular league games only in National League 1 (no cup games).[35]
Rank Nat Name Years Club(s) Tries Apps Ratio
1 England David Allen 2004–16 Blackheath 147 274 0.5
2 England Oliver Brennand 2011– Fylde 116 146 0.8
3 England Phil Chesters 2011–13, 2014–15 Ealing Trailfinders 105 82 1.3
4 South Africa Chris Malherbe 1998–99
2001–02
2002–11
Camberley
Kendal
Wharfedale
95 222 0.4
5 England Andrew Hodgson 1997–99, 2000–04, 2005–13, 2014– Wharfedale 95 264 0.4
6 England Jason Smithson 2007– Blaydon 89 197 0.5
7 England Hugo Ellis 2012– Rosslyn Park 84 98 0.9
8 South Africa Christoff Lombaard 2006–07, 2008–10
2012–15
Cambridge
Old Albanian
78 131 0.6
9 England Ed Smithies 1999–07 Harrogate 77 187 0.4
10 England Simon Horsfall 2003–2008, 2009–13 Wharfedale 73 210 0.3

(Bold denotes players still playing in National League 1)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stephen Jones, ed. (1988). Rothmans Rugby Union Yearbook 1988–89. London: Rothmans Publications Ltd. 
  2. ^ "HAWKS ARE RELEGATED BACK INTO NATIONAL 2 SOUTH". Henley Hawks. 9 April 2016. 
  3. ^ "Cinderford's relegation confirmed by defeat at Rosslyn Park". Gloucester Citizen. 17 April 2016. 
  4. ^ "Wharfedale relegated from English rugby's third tier after 20 years". Telegraph & Argus. 18 April 2016. 
  5. ^ "Cambridge promoted as National League 2S champions". Cambridge News. 30 April 2016. 
  6. ^ "Macclesfield crowned National Two North champions". Talking Rugby Union. 16 April 2016. 
  7. ^ "Old Albanian back in National One after play-off win secures promotion". The Herts Advertiser. 16 May 2016. 
  8. ^ Stephen Jones, ed. (1988). Courage Leagues 1988–89. London: Queen Anne Press. ISBN 0356158845. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ Stephen Jones, ed. (1991). Rothmans Rugby Union Yearbook 1991–92. London: Queen Anne Press. ISBN 0356202496. 
  11. ^ "Courage Club Championship 1991/92". Moseley Rugby club. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Courage Clubs Championship-1992/93". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  13. ^ "Courage Clubs Championship 1993/94". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  14. ^ "Courage Club Championships 1994/95". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  15. ^ Mick Cleary, ed. (1996). Rothmans Rugby Union Yearbook 1996–97. London: Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 0747277710. 
  16. ^ Mick Cleary, ed. (1987). Rothmans Rugby Union Yearbook 1997–98. London: Headline Book Publishers. ISBN 074727732X. 
  17. ^ "1997/98: Jewson National Division (formerly Courage League National Division 3)". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  18. ^ Mick Cleary and John Griffiths, ed. (1999). Rothmans Rugby Union Yearbook 1999–2000. London: Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 0747275319. 
  19. ^ Stephen McCormack, ed. (2000). The Official RFU Club Directory 2000–2001. Harpenden: Queen Anne Press. ISBN 1852916273. 
  20. ^ a b Stephen McCormack, ed. (2001). The Official RFU Club Directory 2001–2002. Harpender: Queen Anne Press. ISBN 1852916400. 
  21. ^ Stephen McCormack (2002). The Official RFU Club Directory 2002–2003. Harpenden: Queen Anne Press. ISBN 1852916451. 
  22. ^ "National Division 1 2003/04". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  23. ^ "2004/05: National League 2.". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  24. ^ "2005/06: National League 2.". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  25. ^ "2006/07: National League 2". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  26. ^ "2007/08: National League 2". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  27. ^ "2008/09: National League 2". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  28. ^ "2009/10: National League 1". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  29. ^ "Final League Tables 2010 – 2011". Trelawneys Army. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  30. ^ "English National League One Table". BBC. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  31. ^ "SSE National League 1". NCA. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  32. ^ "London Welsh: RFU refuses permission for Exiles to stay in Championship". BBC Sport. 24 January 2017. 
  33. ^ "Jewson National League 1 1998/99". rugbyarchive.net. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  34. ^ "National One All time leading scorers". Rugby Statbunker. 30 April 2016. 
  35. ^ "National One All time try scorers". Rugby Statbunker. 30 April 2016. 

External links[edit]