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If you like derbies, you’ll love the 2020/21 National 2 North season

On Friday April 4, the RFU published its plans for the promotion and relegation issues created by the cancellation of the 2019-20 season on March 20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
By and large, the plans have followed the league positions held by all clubs on the date of cancellation and Hull RUFC have had their final placing of eighth in the table confirmed.

Concerning National Two North, Caldy have been promoted as champions with Fylde named as runners-up, but there will be no third place play-off this season with the runners-up of National Two South. Otley, Preston Grasshoppers and Scunthorpe have been relegated, the first two into the Northern Premier League and Scunthorpe into the Midlands Premier League.

This leaves four places vacant in National Two North which will be filled by Rotherham and Hull Ionians who are relegated from National One and Blaydon (champions) and Harrogate from the NPL.

Bournville, who play in Birmingham, are promoted from the MPL which means at the moment National Two North have 17 sides in it. This will be rectified before the new season by the level transfer system which means that one of the 17 will transfer to National Two South, according to their geographical location.

So, season 2020/21 will see seven sides from Yorkshire in the division which means that during the season those clubs will have 12 county derby games, 6 at home and 6 away. Hull RUFC will meet Hull Ionians RUFC in the only true local derby for the first time since season 2014-15, the year Hull were relegated from National Two North.

Next season the National Two North division will consist of the following clubs:

Rotherham, Hull Ionians, Fylde, Hinckley, Sedgley Park Tigers, Loughborough Students, Chester,  Stourbridge, Hull RUFC, Wharfedale, Huddersfield, Tynedale, Sheffield Tigers, Luctonians, Blaydon, Harrogate and Bournville.

One of these side will be subject to relocation and it is very likely to be a side from the Midlands. With the exception of Rotherham and Bournville, Hull RUFC have met all of these side before in league rugby.

It is to be hoped that the current dreadful pandemic will have cleared up in time for the new season to begin on time.

Norman Angell.

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