Sudbury to go up against four new opponents in 2020/21 season
Sudbury will face four new opponents in London & SE League 1 North when the 2020/21 season starts, following the RFU’s decision to calculate final league positions and settle promotion and relegation issues, writes Ken Watkins.
North Walsham have been promoted to London Premier as Division 1 North champions, a position they had secured before the 2019/20 season was halted with four games remaining, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Woodford and Ruislip, already down before the season stopped, have been joined by Old Priorians in the relegation places.
Bedford Athletic, relegated from London Premier, and Norwich, promoted as champions of London 2NE, will face Sudbury next season. They are almost certain to be joined by Richmond-based London Welsh, and Hammersmith & Fulham, both promoted from London 2NW.
London Irish Wild Geese, based in Sunbury on Thames, and Guildford have also been relegated from London Premier, but as both are further south than London Welsh and Hammersmith & Fulham, look set for London 1 South.
The RFU will be finalising the line-ups of all divisions over the next few weeks.
Final league positions have been determined by awarding league points to a team’s outstanding matches based on their home and away record in fixtures played to March 14, when the season was cancelled. The RFU methodology uses a team’s average league points per game total for home and away fixtures completed.
Sudbury were seventh in London 1N, on 65 points from 22 games, when the season was halted, and under the RFU calculation, they remain seventh, on 76.82 points. Had the season continued, the belief at the club was that a higher position could have been achieved.
Sudbury Talbots, the club’s second team, finished level with Norwich Union on 36.67 points in the Eastern Counties 1 Shield, with Union looking set for promotion to London 3 Eastern Counties. The Eastern Counties RFU does not promote second teams to the London leagues.
The Talbots were third in the Shield when the season stopped, on 17 points, one point behind leaders Norwich Union and then second-placed Newmarket. The latter’s calculated points total of 34.17 saw them slip to third.
Eastern Counties RFU has yet to decide on final positions, promotion and relegation within its pyramid structure.
Hadleigh were fifth in the Eastern Counties Division One Plate competition, and Halstead Templars fourth in the Division One South Salver when the season was halted. Both were in Division One South, along with Sudbury Talbots, in the first half of the season.
More by this authorRussell Claydon