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The standard of "premier" varies considerably between regions. In the Midlands we have 3 clubs who might be in the Premier operating at a higher level (NCL and CLS) - one of these will be semi pro next season. North East has one at NCL level who would be a strong favourite if they were still in North East Prem.
The South West is a real development area, with little chance for the top side to get any real stern competition until they hit the HJ.
It's a good gauge for a region, and it's still a prestigious trophy outside of the heartlands, but you have to understand the situation within each region to read anything into the results.
You should be able to run a reserve team, all pro/semi pro clubs should. They should be in their own league setup, not being farmed out to amateur clubs though.
But the "reserves" will be made up of the better local amateur players who are either just "reserve fodder" or players wanting to impress the pro side. Either way, local clubs will have their bast players taken to play in a relatively meaningless reserve championship and these players might get a shiny pro track suit.
The Ireland v NZ game wasn't the best technical spectacle but was a great sporting event because of the way Ireland beat the odds and the fun they're going to have asking their male counterparts how they felt when they beat New Zealand. "Oh, that's right, you've never done that have you?"