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Mid Season Review This Weekend For NCL South

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#1 Jasper

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 07:07 PM

From what I have picked up on other forums, this weekend there is a Mid Season Review meeting - hence no games -  between the RFL and representatives from all the six teams in the NCL South.  I believe it is two fold,  1. to discuss how the season is going and what can be done to make it better and 2. talk to any other teams that may have shown an interest in wanting to join next season and expand the league.  I personally would think that the big downer against expanding this league is that, from what I have been told and has already been discussed before, two clubs regularly play dual registered players, (all within the rules)  who are from a far higher level than most of the other teams in the league.  Would it not help this league grow if dual reg players were not allowed at all, (or a maximum of two brought in) and clubs stood and fell on their own development.


Also will the outcome of the meeting be made known to the fans?  If anyone from any of the clubs that post on here attends the meeting, would they be allowed to say on here what was discussed?


I hope this league continues and expands, but to do that you have to give new clubs thinking about joining up a reasonable crack of the whip, and unless they are a club with 'connections' to get dual reg players of their own, I can't see it happening - hope I'm wrong. 

Edited by Jasper, 19 June 2013 - 07:08 PM.

#2 tim2

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 09:22 PM

You can't say that Bristol are way higher than the other teams when they drew 22-22 with Nottingham on Saturday.

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#3 Stew R

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 06:53 AM

I think the main issue with dual reg in this division is which clubs the player is registered with. A player on the fringes of the squad for a team top of championship or one propping up championship 1.
Will this put off other clubs joining this league?
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#4 northamptoncougar

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 09:47 AM

I think the main issue with dual reg in this division is which clubs the player is registered with. A player on the fringes of the squad for a team top of championship or one propping up championship 1.
Will this put off other clubs joining this league?

Fair point, my suggestion on this is minimum standards - all NCL South clubs must show and operate a 2nd team and also have some form of junior clubs in their set up.

This will hopefully promote the community club idea and stop any potential stretching of the rules by championship clubs wanting a game for their reserve side.

#5 Jasper

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:35 AM

You can't say that Bristol are way higher than the other teams when they drew 22-22 with Nottingham on Saturday.

I shouldn't have said 'far higher level', I should have just said 'higher level'.  And no, it isn't surprising that Bristol, (played 7, lost one), with 5 Gloucester All Gold first team squad members playing (according to their own match report) drew with the Outlaws, (played 9, lost three) who according to Marauder a few weeks ago have several very good winter Barla players in their squad.  It just seems to me, that this league is divided into three groups - looking at the current league table you have the top two (Sheffield and Bristol) who have dual reg players, then Notts who have barla players in their squad, then Northampton, St Albans and Leicester.


The point I was trying to make, obviously not well enough, was that this league should be kept and expanded, but it is not very attractive the way it works at the moment to 'stand alone' rugby teams who may be considering joining next year.


Of course I could be wrong and there is a long list of clubs waiting to step up next season.

#6 RichardJ

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:51 AM

Sorry Jasper, you mis-understood what Marauder was saying. He was commenting on the fact that Sheffield had quite a few BARLA winter players in their squad.


Nottingham do not have any winter BARLA players.

#7 Jasper

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:54 AM

Cheers SherwoodForester, I stand corrected. 

#8 RichardJ

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 11:13 AM

Just reading the thread with interest.


At the mid way stage I think the first season of the Southern Conference has been on the whole a reasonable success.


One or two people had pointed out that there may be a couple of teams at the top of the division that are a cut above the rest. That may be the case but surely that goes for many other divisions/leagues as well?? that is just the nature of a divional system, teams at the top will often be a cut above and those at the bottom might struggle...hence they are ta the bottom.


If I was involved with the discussions I would say:


Some Positives:


1. Reasonable quality of competition across the division, although Sheffield are stronger than everyone else and some teams suffer at their hands. All teams have won at least 1 game after 9 rounds and have been on the whole competitive.

2. Regular weekend gaps/breaks in the season. I think this has been a major benefit and is an absolute necessity in summer. Keeps players (and officials) refreshed and allows for scheduling of holidays, weekends off etc and re-scheduling of fixtures where needed

3. All fixtures have been played (1 re-scheduled) and despite some teams struggling (like St Albans) they have kept at it and will hopefully improve in the second half.





1. Clearly not enough teams so the emphasis should be on coaxing/persuading another 2-4 community clubs to join in 2014 (not professional clubs second teams!). The management team should start work on this NOW and identify/coax/help clubs get ready for the step up

2. Confusing name (its more national than the national conference yet its referred to as a regional competition). Call it National League or something similar to promote the fact that it is a nationwide division

3. Lacks exposure (tucked away on the NCL website as an afterthought) it needs its own website and logo etc


Bottom line is that I believe the current 6 teams are all reasonably strong/stable clubs who are committed to being in the division for next year and beyond. Lets hope another 2-4 will take the plunge and try for a longer season.

#9 tim2

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 04:14 PM

Interesting points from SherwoodForester

I think the profile is deliberately low at the moment to give it chance to bed in. A 100% completion of fixtures would be an achievement indeed. Better than the NCL will manage this season.

Sheffield are a bit of an anomaly in this league - they aren't a genuine community club - the majority (all?) of the others have a second team and juniors. However, without them I don't think this league would go ahead, so the clubs who are getting a good level of playing standard should just grit their teeth and get on with it.

The gaps are all very well, but the regional teams don't get them. In fact, there are several A teams of clubs in Tier 3 who can considerably strengthen, if they so choose, during these blank weeks. I guess this is always an issue, but the gap in standard is so great even 2 or 3 Tier 3 players can make a big difference to a result when they step down.

I don't know what will happen next year if some kind of reserve league is reinstated for pro clubs in terms of Sheffield Hallam's participation. And indeed whether their presence, and the concept of dual reg, is putting teams off. The meeting may well reveal more.

Next year Cov Bears will hopefully go up to the pro ranks, so will their reserves go into Tier 3? If DR still exists, they will have to do that if they want to use their fringe players in the A team.

Ideally a division of 8-10 teams would be better, let's see what happens.

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#10 del capo

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 07:06 PM

Conference league South currently allows unlimited dual registrations if sanctioned by the Management. I assume each player is considered individually.


It is not a national competition and there is little likelihood of anyone else north of Nottingham being accepted in the future. Sheffield Hallam is a one off,  let in to make up the numbers , as they could never achieve NCL status as currently run.


The RFL seem to be looking at a different model for expansion areas to that of the NCL , but will still strive for similar standards both on and off the park. Expect therefore a new CC1 club to be allowed an effective reserve side  in Tier 3 as long as they are also running a Tier 4 side as well more locally.


So Coventry ( if they move up )  , Hemel and Skolars seem immediate targets for inclusion next year. How that sits with ' stand alone ' clubs like Nottingham remains to be seen - no doubt part of the mid season review / debate this weekend........

#11 RugbyLeagueGeek

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 09:50 AM

It is not a national competition and there is little likelihood of anyone else north of Nottingham being accepted in the future.

The NCL is arguably only national in name. The current make-up of the divisions deters teams from southern areas from joining due in part to the huge travel demands. From reading the article in a recent RL World it sounds like this is one of the reasons why Nottingham declined the invitation to join. Yes Coventry are a Midlands based club, but they are preparing to join C1 next year and it would appear they have far greater resources at their disposal than the vast majority of community clubs in the South. How many clubs south of Cheshire are likely to be accepted in the NCL any time soon? If half a dozen really strong NCL-standard clubs sprung up in Cornwall, would they be readily accepted into the NCL?

#12 Cooky Boy

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 10:16 AM

As Far as the Eastern Rhinos are concerned it is the travelling costs that is the barrier to Conference South aspirations. Duel registered players would not be of a concern as we get that now in the London Premier Division with Skolars and the Stags A teams anyway.


I have lost my copy of the e-mail invitation but If I remember correctly the meeting is in Loughborough - if the objective is to encourage more London and southern teams it is hardly a location that conveys that message.

#13 northamptoncougar

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 06:25 PM

Ah but it's well handy for the guy that's from the RFL who lives in the north - but wait a min he's in charge of NCL South - D'oh

#14 Impartial Observer

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 09:02 PM

Who would that be?

#15 Odsal Outlaw

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 07:57 PM

My thoughts on NCL South would be that on the whole it's been a reasonable success.

Competitive - on the whole it's been competitive, as a post above mentions, having a team who is much better than the rest is not unusual in any league (the reason they're better is a separate issue!)

Clubs - there are clearly some real 'clubs' involved who are in with the right intentions. Will be great if this can be built on and expanded. Agree with the post stating that teams should have to have an 'A' team.

Gap Weeks - this has been great, I'd say there's maybe one too many, but if they can be consistent and you know you'll get certain weekends off each year then it'll really help with players organising holidays etc.

Dual Reg - I don't think this should be allowed or at the very least regulated. If the above post about Bristol having 5 against us is correct then I think that is unacceptable, field your own team!

Magic Weekend - yet to happen, but a proper sh*t idea! Teams will turn up, play at a bizarre time against a team that are closer in geography than the magic venue and then go home.

League Size - Would be better with more teams in the league, playing each other 3 times is a bit average but understand why it has to that way with number of teams. Hopefully can be expanded next year.

Structure - Still not sure where our league fits into the whole amateur game, we always feel like a bit of a bolt on to everything else!
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#16 Phil C

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 09:33 PM

Dual Reg - I don't think this should be allowed or at the very least regulated. If the above post about Bristol having 5 against us is correct then I think that is unacceptable, field your own team!


It isn't correct. 

#17 FAZ

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 05:55 AM

On the whole I feel Dual reg is a massive benefit to the competition as people who genuinely love the game and play it want to stretch themselves. The competition is weaker because of the losses of teams like Hemel, Coventry, Wizards and Underbank and this weakening of the league in my opinion has turned some people away.

I know that in Bristol no regular 1st team player has lost his spot to an All Gold if available. For example in the game against Nottingham 4 regular second team lads played, weakening the twos that day but at least it gave lads the opportunity to test themselves as they had trained hard and played well. However nobody complains when this potentially weakens the comp?

#18 West Country Eagle

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 11:40 AM

For the record, this was the side the Sonics played v Nottingham two weeks ago:

Dual registered with Glos All Golds:

James Gahan (played at the Sonics briefly last year after leaving South Wales Scorpions/Hornets. Has also played for Glos Warriors in the past)
Mike Norman (started at the Sonics, hasn't played any Championship 1 games yet as far as I know)
Phil Cowburn (first game for the Sonics)
Ollie Yeats (All Golds U20s, has played a large number of games for the Sonics this season)

First team regulars:

Dan Evans
James Raymond
James Gross (has also played as many 2nd team games this season as first team games)
Dan Brooker
Dom Swann
Jake Robertson
Tom Verber
Rob Verber

Second team players stepping back up:

Joe Singleton (last year's second team captain, has played for both teams this year and earned his place)
Curtis Asante (moving back up after training well/impressing for the seconds)
Will Tobin (first team debut)
James Pritchard (first "first team" game of the year - last played first team a few years ago from memory)

In theory we could take more All Golds contracted players, but our Director of Rugby (FAZ, above) chose not to. This definitely meant a weaker team (we were missing quite a few regular forwards from the Sonics ranks), but priority is always given to players who train and Sonics lads. The exception are players either involved in the local pathway (I.E All Golds under 20s, Filton College lads etc), or those with previous connections to the club (E.G James Gahan, Mike Norman, Marcus Brooker).

The "dual reg" issue shouldn't be an issue. Nobody is trying to pull a fast one. Sheffield have been honest from the start about what they're doing, it's just certain people aren't listening or have already made up their minds. We went into partnership with the All Golds not to try and win things (we were in a Tier 3 comp last year and were competitive in the second half of the season when we got up to scratch, and even beat Hemel), but to strengthen the performance pathway in the region. We debated long and hard at committee level before we went into the partnership and from the start wanted to make sure that it didn't drive away committed players with no All Golds connections.

Hopefully our track record in terms of trying to develop as a club and build at all levels (including juniors) speaks for itself - I.E our priority has always been, and will remain, developing the game of Rugby League in the city of Bristol and surrounding region. There's no way we would allow the All Golds to use the Sonics' Conference League South side as a de facto reserve team - that's not what the partnership is about.
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#19 northamptoncougar

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 09:25 PM

Bristol are a community club I think they are a different entity than Sheffield to be honest.

Sheffield I've no issue with as a club, they are great to deal with, but this is the eagles 2nd team. It's not their fault they have no-where else to play but should they be plaing week in week out against developing community clubs is my concern.

#20 Exiled Townie

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 12:44 PM

Which hat to wear first??? 

With my flat cap of someone who supports amateur rugby and wants it to spread, especially down south -  there seems to be an 'undercurrent of mild concern' amongst some clubs over the NCL South, including those clubs considering joining next season, and it is to do with clubs playing dual registered players.  I have nothing against one or two dual registered players turning out for a lower club, but have been told by different people at different clubs that when they have checked the team sheets of NCL South clubs they have played against with the website of the senior club that team is 'dual registered with, on several occasions there had been four, five players playing, on one occasion eight, from the senior club, and they feel that at a community club level this is too many and there should be a cap put on the numbers allowed to play.

However, with my trilby hat of club official on, I want this league to work and can see how it would strengthen the pathway development if done properly (should all clubs be given a team to have a dual registration link with?).  Also playing against better players will help the lads to up their game.  We want to develop our club and will continue to play in the highest league we can.


As West Country Eagle says above  "The 'dual reg' issue shouldn't be an issue", but unfortunately it is perceived, rightly or wrongly, by some, as being one.

Edited by Exiled Townie, 25 June 2013 - 01:41 PM.

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