North Premier
Current season or competition:
2021–22 North Premier
England Rugy text logo.svg
SportRugby Union
Instituted1987; 35 years ago (1987) (as North Division 1)
Number of teams14
Country England
HoldersOtley (2nd title) (2021–22
(promoted to National Two North)
Most titlesBradford & Bingley, Darlington Mowden Park, Huddersfield, Kendal, Morley, Otley and Preston Grasshoppers (2 titles)
Websiteclubs.rfu.com

North Premier is a level five league in the English rugby union system.[1] The fourteen teams in the division are drawn from across Northern England. It is one of the highest regional rugby union structure; along with London & South East Premier, South West Premier and Midlands Premier.

The champion club is automatically promoted to National League 2 North and the runner-up meets the second placed team of Midlands Premier in a play-off, with the winner also gaining promotion.

The format of the league was changed at the beginning of the 2009–10 season following reorganisation by the Rugby Football Union when the league was originally known as North Division 1. A further name change from National League 3 North to its current name for the 2017–18 season by the RFU in order to lessen confusion for the series of regional leagues.[1]

Format

The fourteen teams in this league are drawn from across northern England 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 Midlands Premier with the winner also being promoted. The league's bottom three teams are relegated to either North 1 East or North 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:

2021–22

Nine of the fourteen teams participated in last season's competition. They are joined by Otley and Preston Grasshoppers who were relegated from National League 2 North, and promoted sides York (from North 1 East) together with Burnage and Northwich RUFC (both from North 1 West).

Last season's champions Blaydon were promoted into National League 2 North alongside Harrogate (who won the virtual play-off against Newport runners-up in Midlands Premier), while the relegated teams were Carlisle RFC (to North 1 West) together with Morpeth and Ilkley RFC (both to North 1 East).

The teams competing in 2021–22 achieved their places in the league based on performances in 2019–20, the 'previous season' column in the table below refers to that season not 2020–21.

Participating teams and locations

Final league table

North Premier 2021–22
Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Loss bonus Points Adj pts
1 Otley 26 24 0 2 1076 310 766 20 0 116
2 Preston Grasshoppers 26 23 1 2 1105 299 806 19 0 113
3 Blackburn 26 18 2 6 1001 526 475 19 3 98
4 Billingham 26 18 1 7 837 432 405 16 2 92
5 Lymm 26 17 0 9 829 543 286 15 3 86
6 Macclesfield 26 15 0 11 840 565 275 13 4 77
7 Alnwick 26 14 1 11 854 563 291 12 3 73
8 Rossendale 26 12 1 13 612 669 −57 9 2 61
9 Wirral 26 11 0 15 562 669 −107 8 5 58
10 York 26 9 1 16 643 584 59 11 8 58
11 Sandal 26 7 2 17 605 853 −248 8 3 43
12 Burnage 26 5 0 21 545 1035 −490 8 4 32
13 Kirkby Lonsdale 26 3 2 21 298 1288 −990 4 0 20
14 Northwich 26 0 1 25 168 1639 −1471 1 0 −2 −5
  • 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 are the promotion places. Pink background are relegation places.
Updated: 2 June 2022
Source:[2]

2020–21

On 30th October the RFU announced [3] that due to the coronavirus pandemic a decision had been taken to cancel Adult Competitive Leagues (National League 1 and below) for the 2020/21 season meaning North Premier was not contested.

2019–20

Ten of the fourteen teams participated in last season's competition. They are joined by Macclesfield who were relegated from National League 2 North, and Blackburn, Carlisle and Morpeth who were promoted into the division.[4][5][6][7] Last season's champions Hull were promoted into National League 2 North, while the relegated teams were Vale of Lune and Wilmslow who all drop down into North 1 West and Kendal Rugby Union Football Club, Kendal who were relegated to North 1 East.

Participating teams and locations

2018–19

Ten of the fourteen teams participated in last season's competition. They are joined by Blaydon who were relegated from National League 2 North, while Alnwick, Vale of Lune and Wilmslow were promoted into the division.[8][9][10][11] Preston Grasshoppers were promoted as champions into National League 2 North, while the relegated teams were Birkenhead Park (North 1 West), Morley and Pocklington (both North 1 East).

Participating teams and locations

2017–18

Nine of the fourteen teams participated in last season's competition. They are joined by Preston Grasshoppers and Harrogate who were relegated from National League 2 North, while Pocklington, Kirkby Lonsdale and Birkenhead Park are promoted into the division.[12][13][14][15][16] Huddersfield were promoted as champions into National League 2 North, with Firwood Waterloo and Stockport both relegated to North 1 West and Cleckheaton dropping to North 1 East.[17] In order to address an imbalance of teams at tier 5, Doncaster Phoenix were level transferred to Midlands Premier.[18] This season was the first that Kendal played at the new Mint Bridge Stadium.

Participating teams and locations

Final league table

National League 3 North 2017–18
Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Loss bonus Points
1 Preston Grasshoppers (P) 26 23 1 2 897 410 487 22 2 118
2 Hull 26 20 3 3 815 340 475 18 2 106
3 Harrogate 26 19 1 6 697 477 220 16 4 98
4 Lymm 26 17 2 7 691 382 309 11 5 88
5 Rossendale 25 17 0 8 636 571 65 14 1 83
6 Billingham 26 16 1 9 794 501 293 13 3 82
7 Ilkley 25 12 1 12 523 532 −9 7 5 62
8 Kirkby Lonsdale 26 10 0 16 565 584 −19 7 10 57
9 Wirral 26 9 0 17 573 715 −142 12 6 54
10 Kendal 26 10 1 15 537 635 −98 6 5 53
11 Sandal 26 7 1 18 528 694 −166 8 8 46
12 Birkenhead Park 26 5 1 20 452 874 −422 5 6 33
13 Morley 26 6 1 19 324 715 −391 2 3 31
14 Pocklington (R) 26 3 1 22 375 977 –602 6 3 23
  • 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: 22 November 2021
Source: "National League 3 North". England Rugby.

2016–17

Nine of the fourteen teams participated in last season's competition. They are joined by Huddersfield and Sandal who were relegated from National 2 North while Doncaster Phoenix, Morley and Kendal were promoted into the league. Sheffield Tigers were promoted as champions into National 2 North while Burnage and Huddersfield Y.M.C.A. were relegated to North 1 East and Birkenhead Park dropped to North 1 West. In order to address a league imbalance, 7th placed Sheffield were level transferred to National League 3 Midlands.

Participating teams and locations

Final league table

National League 3 North 2016–17
Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Loss bonus Points
1 Huddersfield (P) 26 26 0 0 1180 263 917 20 0 124
2 Rossendale 26 21 0 5 852 443 409 14 1 99
3 Hull 26 20 0 6 837 460 377 17 0 97
4 Wirral 26 18 0 8 814 501 313 16 1 89
5 Billingham 26 17 0 9 779 542 237 16 3 87
6 Sandal 26 16 0 10 935 556 379 16 5 85
7 Kendal 26 13 0 13 548 498 50 7 6 65
8 Lymm 26 12 0 14 629 632 −3 9 4 61
9 Ilkley 26 11 0 15 571 576 −5 7 8 59
10 Morley 26 8 0 18 577 864 −287 10 4 46
11 Doncaster Phoenix 26 8 0 18 538 837 −299 6 3 41
12 Cleckheaton (R) 26 7 0 19 523 739 –216 7 4 39
13 Firwood Waterloo (R) 26 5 0 21 422 1019 −597 4 5 29
14 Stockport (R) 26 0 0 26 229 1504 −1275 1 1 2
  • 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 North". England Rugby.

Promotion play-off

Each season, the runners-up in the National League 3 North, and National League 3 Midlands participate in a play-off for promotion to National League 2 North. The team with the best playing record, in this case Rossendale, host the match and they 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 26 19 0 7 717 434 283 16 4 96
29 April 2017
15:00
Rossendale 31 – 32 Sheffield
Marl Pits

2015–16

Sheffield Tigers, are the champions, winning the league by 16 points. It was Sheffield's second promotion to National 2 North; in 2010–11 they won promotion via the play-off (as Midland representatives), beating Chester. Wirral, the second-placed team lost their play-off match against Hinckley and remain in this league for next season. Three clubs are relegated, Huddersfield YMCA to North East 1, and Birkenhead Park and Burnage, both to North West 1 .

Participating clubs and locations

Nine of the fourteen teams participated in last season's competition. They were joined by two teams relegated from National League 2 North, Hull and Stockport; and by three promoted teams, Birkenhead Park, Ilkley and Sheffield. The teams leaving the league were the 2014–15 champions, Sale who were promoted to National League 2 North, along with the runner-up Sandal, the play-off winner against Hinckley; Morley, South Shields West and Beverley were all relegated to North 1 East.

Final league table

National League 3 North 2015–16


Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Loss bonus Points
1 Sheffield Tigers (C) 26 22 0 4 984 314 670 17 4 109
2 Wirral 26 19 0 7 677 486 191 13 4 93
3 Lymm 26 15 1 10 635 482 153 11 6 79
4 Firwood Waterloo 26 17 1 8 590 537 53 11 2 78
5 Hull 26 15 0 11 653 454 199 9 9 78
6 Rossendale 26 14 1 11 720 613 107 13 3 74
7 Sheffield 26 14 2 10 595 502 93 9 4 73
8 Ilkley 26 14 1 11 571 609 –38 7 5 70
9 Billingham 26 12 0 14 614 594 20 10 6 64
10 Cleckheaton 26 11 0 15 508 646 –138 6 4 54
11 Stockport 26 8 1 17 588 770 –182 10 7 51
12 Huddersfield YMCA (R) 26 7 1 18 546 813 –267 10 7 47
13 Birkenhead Park (R) 26 6 0 20 519 739 –220 7 10 41
14 Burnage (R) 26 4 0 22 359 1000 –641 1 3 20


  • If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
  1. Number of matches won
  1. Difference between points for and against
  1. Total number of points for
  1. Aggregate number of points scored in matches between tied teams
  1. 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 North". England Rugby.


Promotion play-off

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 their opponents are Wirral.


Club 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 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

Participating clubs


2013–14

Participating clubs


2012–13

Participating clubs


2009–10

Participating clubs

Inaugural clubs (first season as National 3 North)


2008–09

Final league table

2008–09 North Division 1 Final League Table
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Points
Westoe 22 19 0 3 737 264 473 38
Hull 22 18 0 4 702 241 461 36
Morley R.F.C. 22 16 0 6 497 222 275 32
Sheffield Tigers RUFC 22 15 0 7 495 307 118 30
Birkenhead Park 22 14 1 7 373 331 42 29
Middlesbrough 22 11 0 11 477 421 56 22
West Hartlepool 22 9 0 13 356 420 –64 18
Stockport R.U.F.C 22 8 0 14 414 520 –106 16
Beverley 22 8 0 14 311 425 –114 16
Cleckheaton 22 5 1 16 293 654 –361 11
West Park St Helens 22 5 0 17 273 599 –326 10
Darlington RFC 22 3 0 19 254 769 –524 6

Original teams

When league rugby began in 1987 this division contained the following teams:

North Premier honours

In the first season of the English rugby union league pyramid, sponsored by Courage, there was four, tier five leagues. The geographical area for teams in the north of England covered the ceremonial counties of Cheshire, Cumbria, Lancashire Northumberland and Yorkshire There were eleven teams in the league and they played each other once, giving each team ten matches. The other tier five leagues were London Division One, Midlands Division One and South West Division One.[19] This system prevailed for five seasons, and in 1992–93 the number of teams increased from eleven to thirteen. The following season (1993–94) the league was reorganised and the four tier five leagues became two; National 5 North and National 5 South.[20] After three seasons, in 1996–97, a further reorganisation occurred, and there was a return to four, tier five leagues; with North Division One covering the area of northern England.[21] This system prevailed until 2009–10 when the number of teams was increased from twelve to fourteen and renamed National League Three North.

North Division 1 (1987–1993)

The original North Division 1 was a tier 5 league with promotion to Area League 2 North and relegation to North Division 2 (now split into two leagues known as North 1 East and North 1 West).

North Division One
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runners–up Relegated teams Reference
1987–88 11 10 Winnington Park Kendal Widnes, Middlesbrough [22]
1988–89 11 10 Kendal Tynedale West Park [22]
1989–90 11 10 Otley Harrogate No relegation [22]
1990–91 11 10 Aspatria Bradford & Bingley Halifax [23]
1991–92 11 10 Rotherham Tynedale Birkenhead Park [24]
1992–93 13 12 Bradford & Bingley Tynedale Lymm [25]

North Division 1 (1993–1996)

At the end of the 1992–93 season the top six teams from North Division 1 and the top six from Midland Division 1 were combined to create National 5 North. North Division 1 dropped from a tier 5 league to a tier 6 league for the years that National 5 North was active.

North Division 1
Season No of teams Champions Runners–up Relegated teams
1993-94[26] 13 Wharfedale Sandal Hartlepool Rovers, Northern, Vale of Lune
1994-95 13 Sandal Stockton Durham City
1995-96 13 Manchester Macclesfield No relegation[a]
Green backgrounds are promotion places.

North Division 1 (1996–2009)

For the end of the 1995–96 season National 5 North was discontinued and North Division One returned to being a tier 5 league. Promotion was to National 4 North (now known as National League 2 North), while relegation continued to North Division 2 until 2000–01, and then into either North 2 East and North 2 West (currently North 1 East / North 1 West) in subsequent seasons.

North Division One
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runners–up Relegated teams Reference
1996–97 12 22 Sedgley Park Tynedale Bradford & Bingley [27]
1997–98 12 22 New Brighton Doncaster West Park Bramhope [28]
1998–99 12 22 Doncaster Northern Bridlington, Broughton Park [29]
1999–00 12 22 Tynedale Hull Ionians Widnes, Winnington Park [30]
2000–01 12 22 Darlington Mowden Park Blaydon Northern, Stockton [31]
2001–02 12 22 Halifax Hull Ionians Wigton, Middlesbrough, Bradford & Bingley [32]
2002–03 12 22 Darlington Macclesfield Sandal, West Hartlepool [33]
2003–04 12 22 Bradford & Bingley Cleckheaton Huddersfield, Aspatria, Driffield [34]
2004–05 12 22 Preston Grasshoppers Hull Ionians Sheffield, Liverpool St Helens, Vale of Lune [35]
2005–06 12 22 Morley West Park St Helens Whitchurch, Middlesbrough, Longton [36]
2006–07 12 22 Caldy Beverley New Brighton, Chester, Stockport [37]
2007–08 12 22 Kendal Huddersfield Penrith, Altrincham Kersal [38]
2008–09 12 22 Westoe Hull No relegation [39]

National League 3 North (2009–2017)

For the 2009–10 season North Division One was renamed as National League 3 North following a restructuring of the national leagues which led to changes at all levels.

National League 3 North
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runners–up Relegated teams Reference
2009–10 14 26 Morley Stockport West Hartlepool, Cleckheaton, West Park St Helens [40]
2010–11 14 26 Stockport Chester Rochdale, Billingham, Middlesbrough [41]
2011–12 14 26 Darlington Mowden Park Rossendale Morley, Altrincham Kersal, Beverley [42]
2012–13 14 26 Chester Harrogate West Hartlepool, Kendal, Birkenhead Park [43]
2013–14 14 26 Huddersfield Stockport Penrith, Percy Park, Bradford & Bingley [44]
2014–15 14 26 Sale FC Sandal Beverley, Westoe, Morley [45]
2015–16 14 26 Sheffield Tigers Wirral Huddersfield YMCA, Birkenhead Park, Burnage [46]
2016–17 14 26 Huddersfield Rossendale Stockport, Firwood Waterloo, Cleckheaton [47]
Green background are the promotion places.

North Premier (2017–2022)

The division was renamed North Premier for the 2017–18 season in order to make it more obvious that this was a regional division and the top one in the north.

North Premier
Season No of teams No of matches Champions Runners–up Relegated teams Reference
2017–18 14 26 Preston Grasshoppers Hull Pocklington, Morley, Birkenhead Park [48]
2018–19 14 26 Hull Blaydon Wilmslow, Vale of Lune, Kendal [49]
2019–20 14 21[b] Blaydon Harrogate Ilkley, Morpeth, Carlisle [52]
2020–21 Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.
2021–22 14 26 Otley Preston Grasshoppers Awaiting an announcement from the RFU.
Green background are the promotion places.

Promotion play-offs

Since the 2000–01 season there has been a play-off between the league runners-up of North Premier and Midlands Premier for the third and final promotion place to National League 2 North. The team with the superior league record has home advantage. As of the end of the 2019–20 season the northern teams have been stronger with twelve wins to the Midlands seven, while the home team has won thirteen times compared to the away teams six.

North Premier v Midlands 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 [53]
2001–02 Hull Ionians (N) 35–22 Walsall (M) Brantingham Park, Brantingham, East Riding of Yorkshire [54][55]
2002–03 Luctonians (M) 3–17 Macclesfield (N) Mortimer Park, Kingsland, Herefordshire 1,000 [56][57]
2003–04 Cleckheaton (N) 23–10 Kettering (M) Cleckheaton Sports Club, Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire 900 [58][59]
2004–05 Hull Ionians (N) 19–18 Kettering (M) Brantingham Park, Brantingham, East Riding of Yorkshire [60][61]
2005–06 Bedford Athletic (M) 17–24 West Park St Helens (N) Putnoe Woods, Bedford, Bedfordshire [62][63][64]
2006–07 Beverley (N) 7–3 Dudley Kingswinford (M) Beaver Park, Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire [65][66]
2007–08 Huddersfield (N) 22–7 Luctonians (M) Lockwood Park, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire [67][68]
2008–09 Hull (N) 40–15 Chester (M) Ferens Ground, Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire [69][70]
2009–10 Stockport (N) 10–18 Luctonians (M) The Memorial Ground, Stockport, Greater Manchester 350 [71][72]
2010–11 Sheffield Tigers (M) 16–14 Chester (N) Dore Moor, Sheffield, South Yorkshire [73][74]
2011–12 Dudley Kingswinford (M) 36–27 Rossendale (N) Heath Brook, Kingswinford, West Midlands 1,000 [75][76]
2012–13 Sutton Coldfield (M) 13–28 Harrogate (N) Roger Smoldon Ground, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands 650 [77][78][79]
2013–14 Stockport (N) 52–22 Sutton Coldfield (M) The Memorial Ground, Stockport, Greater Manchester [80][81]
2014–15 Sandal (N) 20–10 Hinckley (M) Milnthorpe Green, Sandal Magna, Wakefield, West Yorkshire 200 [82][83]
2015–16 Hinckley (M) 33–20 Wirral (N) Leicester Road, Hinckley, Leicestershire 650 [84][85]
2016–17 Rossendale (N) 31–32 Sheffield (M) Marl Pits, Rawtenstall, Lancashire 413 [86]
2017–18 Hull (N) 22-31 Peterborough Lions (M) Ferens Ground, Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire [87]
2018–19 Luctonians (M) 31–17 Blaydon (N) Mortimer Park, Kingsland, Herefordshire 1,757 [88]
2019–20 Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom. Best ranked runner up - Harrogate (N) - promoted instead.
2020–21 Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.
2021–22 Cancelled due league reorganisation
Green background represent the promoted teams. (M) stands for the Midlands teams while (N) stands for the Northern teams.

Number of league titles

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Due to RFU restructuring of the English league structure there would be no relegation this season.
  2. ^ Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom the RFU cancelled all rugby below the Premiership with most clubs in North Premier having played 21 games, and a best playing record formula was used to decide the final table.[50][51]
  3. ^ Currently known as South Shields Westoe.

References

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