RL Merit League


RL Merit League

Infobox sports league
current_season = 2008
logo=Merit_League_Logo.png pixels = 100px
caption = RLML logo
sport=Rugby league
founded=2006
teams=17
country=ENG
champion=Moorends-Thorne Marauders
TV =
website = [http://www.rlmeritleague.co.uk/ rlmeritleague.co.uk]
The RL Merit League, formerly the Midlands Merit League, is a summer rugby league tournament in England. It is a feeder league to the Rugby League Conference and has a season that runs from April to August.

The 2007 season saw the introduction of an informal under-15 league based on Merit League principles. In 2008 the junior competition featured under-14 and under-16 divisions.

Foundation

The league was founded as the Midlands Merit League in late 2005 to support the growth of rugby league in non-heartland areas. Originally intended as a stand alone league, support from the Rugby Football League meant that it could be administered as part of the Rugby League Conference set-up. Interest quickly gathered with 13 teams showing an interest in participating in the inaugural season. The league is based on the successful London League which also operates a merit system.

The first ever game took place on April 8th 2006 at All Saints Sports College, Sheffield, where the Sheffield Forgers beat the Chesterfield Spires by 58 points to 8.

The league has already provided several teams for the Rugby League Conference: South Humber Rabbitohs and indirectly Scunthorpe Barbarians (based on the Scunthorpe Braves side who competed in the 2006 season) joined the Rugby League Conference in 2007 and Sheffield Forgers and East Riding RLC joined in 2008.

The first cross-league fixture was played in June 2007 when Nottingham Outlaws Academy visited Northampton Casuals of the London League. They also played a return fixture in July.

The league was renamed Rugby League Merit League (RLML) for the 2008 season due to its increased geographical spread.

Format

The 2006 competition operated on a merit table basis with teams organizing fixtures amongst themselves. The first fixtures were in April, with the final date for games to be included in the league table being Sunday 13th August. The same system was used in 2007, but 2007 also included play-offs and a Shield competition. The regular season closed at the end of July with the play-offs in August culminating in Finals day on August 18th.

The scoring system for 2008 is as follows:

Win: 3 points

Draw: 2 points

Defeat not conceded: 1 point

120+ KM trip to away game: 1 point

Default on game within three days of fixture: 0 points, with 40-0 score-line awarded to opposition.

The average number of points scored per game, rather than the total, determines positions in the league table. Teams who have played 6 or more games will be placed higher in the table than those who haven't. If the average is the same, total games played followed by points difference will determine the placings.

For the 2008 season, as in previous years, inter-league games between members of the RLML and the London League can be counted as competitive matches, whilst both leagues are in season. These fixtures will need to be confirmed a week in advance to be guaranteed inclusion as regular season games.

Participating clubs

The following teams participated in 2008:

*Barton Bulldogs

*Birmingham Bulldogs Academy

*Chester Gladiators

*Crewe & Nantwich Steamers

*East Riding Academy

*German Exiles

*Moorends-Thorne Marauders ML

*North Derbyshire Chargers

*Nottingham Outlaws Academy

*Redditch Ravens Academy

*Scarborough Pirates Academy

*Scunthorpe Barbarians Academy

*Sheffield Forgers Academy

*South Humber Rabbitohs

*Telford Raiders Academy

*Wigan Riversiders

*Wolverhampton Warlords

eason 2006

The Grand Final for 2006 was held between the top two teams in the table on Sunday 13th August and took place a week later at Hillsborough Arena, home of the Sheffield Hillsborough Hawks. The final table (August 13th) was as follows:

Play-offs:

Championship semi-finals

Moorends-Thorne Marauders 44 Sheffield Forgers 22

Nottingham Outlaws 4 Wigan Riversiders 48

Shield semi-finals

Nottingham 30 German Exiles 24

Sheffield 36 Birmingham Bulldogs 24

FINALS: Sunday, August 17th 2008

GRAND FINAL: Moorends-Thorne Marauders 28 Wigan Riversiders 18

SHIELD: Nottingham Outlaws 34 Sheffield Forgers 32

Past Winners

Championship

*2006 South Humber Rabbitohs 42-18 Nottingham Outlaws
*2007 St Helens Wild Boars 46-22 German Exiles
*2008 Moorends-Thorne Marauders ML 28-18 Wigan Riversiders

hield

*2007 East Riding RLC 32-26 Nottingham Outlaws Academy
*2008 Nottingham Outlaws Academy 34-32 Sheffield Forgers

ee also

* British rugby league system‎
* Rugby League Conference

External links

* [http://rlmeritleague.co.uk Official website]
* [http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&om=1&msa=0&msid=107298865260266740584.00000111f41c28c8e9e21&z=8 Google map of Merit League teams]
* [http://rugbyleagueconference.co.uk Rugby League Conference official site]


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