Midlands Premier

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Midlands Premier
Current season or competition:
2018–19 Midlands Premier
England Rugby text logo.svg
Sport Rugby union
Instituted 1987
Number of teams 14
Country  England
Holders Birmingham & Solihull (2nd title) (2017–18
promoted to National League 2 South)
Most titles Broadstreet (4 titles)
Website clubs.rfu.com

Midlands Premier (up until 2016-17 known as National League 3 Midlands) is a level five semi-professional league in the English rugby union system.[1] It is one of four leagues at this level, with its counterparts, London & South East Premier, South West Premier and North Premier. The format of the league was changed at the beginning of the 2009–10 season following a reorganisation by the Rugby Football Union (RFU), and the name change from National League 3 to Premier was introduced for the 2017-18 season by the RFU in order to lessen confusion for what is a series of regional leagues.[1] Midlands Premier is the highest regional rugby union league in the English Midlands.

The club that finishes as champions are automatically promoted to National League 2 North. The runner-up meets the second placed team of North Premier in a play-off with the winner also gaining promotion. Relegated teams drop down to either Midlands 1 East or Midlands 1 West depending on location, and other factors such as the location of relegated and promoted teams in other divisions.

Format[edit]

The fourteen teams in this league are drawn from across the midlands with the league champions being promoted to National League 2 North and the runner-up going into a play-off with the second placed team from North Premier with the winner also being promoted. The league's bottom three teams are relegated to either Midlands 1 East or Midlands 1 West depending on their geographic location.

The season runs from September to May and comprises twenty-six rounds of matches, with each club playing each of its rivals home and away. The results of the matches contribute points to the league table as follows:

  • 4 points are awarded for a win
  • 2 points are awarded for a draw
  • 0 points are awarded for a loss, however
  • 1 losing (bonus) point is awarded to a team that loses a match by 7 points or fewer
  • 1 additional (bonus) point is awarded to a team scoring 4 tries or more in a match

2018–19[edit]

Participating teams and locations[edit]

Nine of the fourteen teams participated in last season's competition. They are joined by Luctonians and Sheffield (relegated from National League 2 North), Broadstreet (relegated from National League 2 South), while the two teams promoted into the division are Burton and Syston.[2][3][4][5][6] Last seasons champions Birmingham & Solihull were promoted into National League 2 South following a level transfer, while runners up Peterborough Lions RFC were promoted into National League 2 North after winning their play-off game against Hull. Teams relegated from the division included Old Halesonians, Longton and Newbold-on-Avon who all drop to Midlands 1 West.

2017–18[edit]

Participating teams and locations[edit]

Nine of the fourteen teams participated in last season's competition. Scunthorpe were relegated from National League 2 North while the three teams promoted into the division included Newbold-on-Avon, Newport (Salop) and Bournville.[7][8][9][10][11] Last seasons champions, Broadstreet, were promoted into National League 2 South following a level transfer, while runners-up Sheffield went into National League 2 North, having won their playoff game.[12][13] Teams relegated from the league included Bedford Athletic and Syston, with Sandbach given a reprieve by the RFU in light of the London Welsh liquidation, by virtue of being the best ranked third bottom side in tier 5 for 2016-17.[14][15] Finally Towcestrians were level transferred from Midlands Premier into London & South East Premier, while Doncaster Phoenix were level transferred into Midlands Premier from North Premier to address an imbalance of teams in the three divisions.[16] Birmingham & Solihull won the title on 7th April.

2016–17[edit]

Eight of the fourteen teams participated in last season's competition. They are joined by Broadstreet who were relegated from National 2 North while four teams were promoted into the league – Bedford Athletic, Bridgnorth, Derby and Towcestrians (who were level transferred from the south-west league on promotion) – as well as Sheffield who were level transferred from National League 3 North having finished 7th the previous season. Scunthorpe (champions) and Hinckley (play-off) were promoted into National League 2 North while Old Northamptonians were relegated to Midlands 1 East and Sutton Coldfield and Newport (Salop) both dropped to Midlands 1 West. In order to address a league imbalance due to only one team coming down from National League 2 South, Bromsgrove (who had finished 11th), were level transferred to National League 3 South West.[17]

Participating teams and locations[edit]

2016–17 West Midlands National League 3 Midlands clubs
Team Ground Capacity City/Area Previous season
Bedford Athletic Putnoe Woods 500 Bedford, Bedfordshire promoted from Midlands 1 East (champions)
Birmingham & Solihull Portway Portway, Birmingham, West Midlands 7th
Bridgnorth Edgar Davies Ground Bridgnorth, Shropshire promoted from Midlands 1 West (champions)
Broadstreet Ivor Preece Field 250 (seats) Coventry, West Midlands relegated from 2015–16 National League 2 North (15th)
Derby Haslams Lane Derby, Derbyshire promoted from Midlands 1 East (play-off)
Lichfield Cooke Fields Lichfield, Staffordshire 11th
Longton Trentham Fields Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire 8th
Nuneaton Liberty Way 4,314 (514 seats) Nuneaton, Warwickshire 5th
Old Halesonians Wassell Grove Hagley, Stourbridge, Worcestershire 3rd
Peterborough Lions Bretton Woods Peterborough, Cambridgeshire 4th
Sandbach Bradwell Road Sandbach, Cheshire 10th
Sheffield Abbeydale Park 3,200 (100 seats) Sheffield, South Yorkshire level transfer from National League 3 North (7th)
Syston Barkby Road Queniborough, Leicestershire 6th
Towcestrians Greens Norton Road Towcester, Northamptonshire pomoted from South West 1 East (champions)

Final league table[edit]

National League 3 Midlands 2016–17
Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Loss bonus Points
1 Broadstreet (P) 26 20 1 5 759 412 347 13 3 98
2 Sheffield (P) 26 19 0 7 717 434 283 16 4 96
3 Nuneaton 26 19 1 6 737 441 296 12 4 94
4 Peterborough Lions 26 16 2 8 627 515 112 11 4 83
5 Birmingham & Solihull 26 17 1 8 545 445 100 7 0 77
6 Bridgnorth 26 13 0 13 511 485 26 5 6 63
7 Lichfield 26 11 1 14 593 775 −182 11 6 63
8 Old Halesonians 26 12 0 14 590 638 −48 11 3 62
9 Derby 26 10 0 16 646 715 −69 12 7 59
10 Towcestrians 26 10 1 15 526 625 −99 11 5 58
11 Longton 26 10 0 16 632 789 −157 11 3 54
12 Sandbach 26 9 2 15 564 678 −114 5 7 52
13 Bedford Athletic (R) 26 5 1 20 606 704 −98 12 12 46
14 Syston (R) 26 5 2 19 381 778 −397 2 3 29
  • 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. Blue background is the play-off place. Pink background are relegation places.
Updated: 29 April 2017
Source: "National League 3 Midlands". England Rugby. 

Promotion play-off[edit]

Each season, the runners-up in the National League 3 Midlands, and National League 3 North participate in a play-off for promotion to National League 2 North. The team with the best playing record, in this case Rossendale, hosted the match and lost to their opponents Sheffield, 31 – 32.

Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Loss bonus Points
Rossendale 26 21 0 5 852 443 409 14 1 99
Sheffield (P) 26 19 0 7 717 434 283 16 4 96
29 April 2017
15:00
Rossendale 31 – 32 Sheffield
Marl Pits

2015–16[edit]

Despite leading the table for most of the season Hinckley lost 13 – 23 on the final week-end of the season to Scunthorpe, to finish in second place for the second season in a row. Scunthorpe started the day four points behind and finished top due to winning one more match over the season.[18] Two of last seasons promoted teams were relegated; Newport (Salop) to Midland 1 West and Old Northamptonians to Midland 1 East. The third relegated team is Sutton Coldfield.

Participating teams and locations[edit]

2015–16 West Midlands National League 3 Midlands clubs
Team Ground Capacity City/Area Previous season
Birmingham & Solihull Portway Portway, Birmingham, West Midlands relegated from National 2 North (14th)
Bromsgrove Finstall Park Bromsgrove, Worcestershire 6th
Hinckley Leicester Road Hinckley, Leicestershire 2nd (lost play-off)
Lichfield Cooke Fields Lichfield, Staffordshire 9th
Longton Trentham Fields Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire 10th
Newport (Salop) The Old Showground Newport, Shropshire promoted from Midlands 1 West (champions)
Nuneaton Liberty Way 4,314 (514 seats) Nuneaton, Warwickshire 4th
Old Halesonians Wassell Grove Hagley, Stourbridge, Worcestershire 5th
Old Northamptonians Sir Humphrey Cripps Pavilion Northampton, Northamptonshire promoted from Midlands 1 East (play-off)
Peterborough Lions Bretton Woods Peterborough, Cambridgeshire 3rd
Sandbach Bradwell Road Sandbach, Cheshire 8th
Scunthorpe Heslam Park Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire 7th
Sutton Coldfield Roger Smoldon Ground Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands 11th
Syston Barkby Road Queniborough, Leicestershire promoted from Midlands 1 East (champions)

Final league table[edit]

National League 3 Midlands 2015–16
Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Loss bonus Points
1 Scunthorpe (C) 26 23 0 3 766 343 423 14 2 108
2 Hinckley (P) 26 22 1 3 790 343 447 16 2 108
3 Old Halesonians 26 18 0 8 630 408 222 13 6 91
4 Peterborough Lions 26 15 0 11 593 464 129 10 4 69
5 Nuneaton 26 14 0 12 573 463 110 8 5 69
6 Syston 26 13 0 13 538 562 −24 11 4 67
7 Birmingham & Solihull 26 13 0 13 500 475 25 8 6 66
8 Longton 26 11 1 14 530 577 −47 12 3 61
9 Bromsgrove 26 12 0 14 559 670 –111 8 3 59
10 Sandbach 26 11 0 15 546 591 −45 9 4 57
11 Lichfield 26 9 0 17 600 683 −83 12 7 55
12 Old Northamptonians (R) 26 9 0 17 498 702 −204 6 7 49
13 Newport (Salop) (R) 26 8 0 18 451 738 –287 6 0 38
14 Sutton Coldfield (R) 26 3 0 23 412 967 –555 2 4 18
  • 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. Blue background is the play-off place. Pink background are relegation places.
Updated: 27 April 2016
Source: "National League 3 Midlands". England Rugby. 

Promotion play-off[edit]

Each season, the runners-up in the National League 3 Midland, and National League 3 North participate in a play-off for promotion to National League 2 North. The team with the best playing record, in this case Hinckley, host the match and they beat their opponents Wirral 33 – 20.

Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Loss bonus Points
Hinckley (P) 26 22 1 3 790 343 447 16 2 108
Wirral Rugby Club 26 19 0 7 677 486 191 13 4 93

30 April 2016
15:00
Hinckley 33 – 20 Wirral
Report
Leicester Road
Attendance: 650

2014–15[edit]

2013–14[edit]

2012–13[edit]

2011–12[edit]

2010–11[edit]

2009–10[edit]

First season as National 3 Midlands.

2007–08[edit]

National League 3 Midlands honours[edit]

Midlands Division One[edit]

Midlands Division One
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runners–up Relegated teams Reference
1987–88 11 10 Stoke-on-Trent Barkers Butts Stafford, Hinckley, Peterborough [19]
1988–89 11 10 Walsall Hereford Wolverhampton [19]
1989–90 11 10 Hereford Birmingham & Solihull Paviors in last place (no relegation) [19]
1990–91 11 10 Towcestrians Barkers Butts Paviors, Stockwood Park, Sutton Coldfield [20]
1991–92 11 10 Stoke-on-Trent Syston Camp Hill [21]
1992–93 14 13 Birmingham & Solihull Barkers Butts Newark, Paviors, Vipers [22]

National 5 North[edit]

The top six teams from Midlands Division One and the top six from North Division One were combined to create National 5 North. Midland Division One was now the name of a tier six league and was one of two feeder leagues for National 5 North, the other being North Division One.

National Five North
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runners–up Relegated teams Reference
1993–94 13 12 Rotherham Preston Grasshoppers Durham City, Bradford & Bingley [23]
1994–95 13 12 Walsall Kendal Barkers Butts, Hereford [24]
1995–96 13 12 Wharfedale Worcester Broughton Park [25]

Midlands Division One[edit]

The leagues were reorganised at the end of 1995–96 with the top four divisions increased in size. The fifth tier National 5 North was split and reverted to Midland Division One and North Division One. Wharfedale, the champions, were promoted to National Division Three and all of the other teams, bar Broughton Park, were transferred to the fourth tier, National 4 North.[25]

Midlands Division One
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runners–up Relegated teams Reference
1996–97 17 16 Hinckley Burton Stafford, Leamington, Stockwood Park [26]
1997–98 17 16 Whitchurch Banbury Derby [27]
1998–99 17 16 Bedford Athletic Scunthorpe Leighton Buzzard, Mansfield, Wolverhampton [28]
1999–00 17 16 Dudley Kingswinford Scunthorpe Belgrave, Lichfield, Hinckley, Syston [29]
2000–01 12 22 Scunthorpe Leicester Lions Stoke-on-Trent, Burton, Newbold-on-Avon [30]
2001–02 12 22 Broadstreet Walsall Banbury, Camp Hill, Hereford [31]
2002–03 12 22 Longton Luctonians Barkers Butts, Kenilworth, Hinckley [32]
2003–04 12 22 Bedford Athletic Kettering Luton, Old Laurentians, Spalding [33]
2004–05 12 22 Leicester Lions Kettering Mansfield, Broadstreet, Derby [34]
2005–06 12 22 Rugby Lions Bedford Athletic Bromsgrove, Burton, Kettering [35]
2006–07 12 22 Luton Dudley Kingswinford Market Bosworth, Walsall [36]
2007–08 12 22 Loughborough Students Luctonians Dudley Kingswinford, Scunthorpe, Dunstablians [37]
2008–09 12 22 Broadstreet Chester No relegation due to league restructuring [38]

National League 3 Midlands[edit]

National League 3 Midlands
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runners–up Relegated teams Reference
2009–10 14 26 No champion [a 1] Luctonians, Hinckley Bedford Athletic, Malvern [41]
2010–11 14 26 Bromsgrove Sheffield Tigers Burton, Kenilworth, Peterborough Lions [42]
2011–12 14 26 Rugby Lions[a 2] Dudley Kingswinford Manchester, Old Northamptonians, Hereford [44]
2012–13 14 26 Ampthill Sutton Coldfield Derby, Mansfield [45]
2013–14 14 26 Broadstreet Sutton Coldfield Bedford Athletic, Syston, Newport (Salop) [46]
2014–15 14 26 South Leicester Hinckley Dudley Kingswinford, Burton, Bournville [47]
2015–16 14 26 Scunthorpe Hinckley Sutton Coldfield, Newport (Salop), Old Northamptonians [48]
2016–17 14 26 Broadstreet Sheffield Syston, Bedford Athletic [49]
Green backgrounds are the promotion places.

Midlands Premier[edit]

Midlands Premier
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runners–up Relegated teams Reference
2017–18 14 26 Birmingham & Solihull Peterborough Lions Old Halesonians, Longton, Newbold-on-Avon [50]
2018–19 14 26
Green backgrounds are the promotion places.

Promotion play-offs[edit]

Since the 2000–01 season there has been a play-off between the league runners-up of Midlands Premier and North Premier for the third and final promotion place to National League 2 North. The team with the superior league record has home advantage and the home team has won twelve of the eighteen ties and the Northern teams have been stronger with twelve wins to the Midlands six.

Midlands Premier v North Premier promotion play-off results
Season Home team Score Away team Venue Attendance Reference
2000–01 Blaydon (N) 31–12 Leicester Lions (M) Crow Trees, Swalwell, County Durham [51]
2001–02 Hull Ionians (N) 35–22 Walsall (M) Brantingham Park, Brantingham, East Riding of Yorkshire [52][53]
2002–03 Luctonians (M) 3–17 Macclesfield (N) Mortimer Park, Kingsland, Herefordshire 1,000 [54][55]
2003–04 Cleckheaton (N) 23–10 Kettering (M) Cleckheaton Sports Club, Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire 900 [56][57]
2004–05 Hull Ionians (N) 19–18 Kettering (M) Brantingham Park, Brantingham, East Riding of Yorkshire [58][59]
2005–06 Bedford Athletic (M) 17–24 West Park St Helens (N) Putnoe Woods, Bedford, Bedfordshire [60][61][62]
2006–07 Beverley (N) 7–3 Dudley Kingswinford (M) Beaver Park, Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire [63][64]
2007–08 Huddersfield (N) 22–7 Luctonians (M) Lockwood Park, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire [65][66]
2008–09 Hull (N) 40–15 Chester (M) Ferens Ground, Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire [67][68]
2009–10 Stockport (N) 10–18 Luctonians (M) The Memorial Ground, Stockport, Greater Manchester 350 [69][70]
2010–11 Sheffield Tigers (M) 16–14 Chester (N) Dore Moor, Sheffield, South Yorkshire [71][72]
2011–12 Dudley Kingswinford (M) 36–27 Rossendale (N) Heath Brook, Kingswinford, West Midlands 1,000 [73][74]
2012–13 Sutton Coldfield (M) 13–28 Harrogate (N) Roger Smoldon Ground, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands 650 [75][76][77]
2013–14 Stockport (N) 52–22 Sutton Coldfield (M) The Memorial Ground, Stockport, Greater Manchester [78][79]
2014–15 Sandal (N) 20–10 Hinckley (M) Milnthorpe Green, Sandal Magna, Wakefield, West Yorkshire 200 [80][81]
2015–16 Hinckley (M) 33–20 Wirral (N) Leicester Road, Hinckley, Leicestershire 650 [82][83]
2016–17 Rossendale (N) 31–32 Sheffield (M) Marl Pits, Rawtenstall, Lancashire 413 [84]
2017–18 Hull (N) 22–31 Peterborough Lions (M) Ferens Ground, Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire [85]
2018–19
Green background represent the promoted teams. (M) stands for the Midlands teams while (N) stands for the Northern teams.

Number of league titles[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ A breach of regulations by Ampthill during the Luctonians game on 1 May 2010 led to Ampthill being denied promotion and transferred to National League 3 London & SE. By the time of the ruling Luctonians had already won their play-off against the runner-up of National 3 North so Hinckley were also promoted, despite finishing third.[39][40]
  2. ^ Rugby Lions went into liquidation during the summer due to unpaid debts. The club was thrown out of the league, rejoining the league system in 2013–14 in Midlands 5 West (South).[43]
  3. ^ One of Walsall's two league titles was won during the period when tier 5 was divided into 2 regional divisions - National 5 North and National 5 South (1993-96).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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