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Haverhill Rugby Club set to miss out on the title but have been offered chance of promotion

Despite looking like they have lost out on the league title, Haverhill Rugby Club are set to be promoted to Eastern Counties Greene King 1 West next season.

An offer for the club to be promoted if they wished to was given to chairman Mitchell Cleary by a league representative this week.

It is still subject to being ratified by the Eastern Counties Competition Committee, who are set to meet ahead of the weekend to formally confirm promotion and relegation matters.

RUGBY - Haverhill v Sawston..Pictured: ...PICTURE: Mecha Morton. (33143077)
RUGBY - Haverhill v Sawston..Pictured: ...PICTURE: Mecha Morton. (33143077)

It comes after the RFU announced at the end of last week its plans on how to carry out its previous termination decision on the 2019/20 season, due to the coronavirus pandemic, across all leagues but the Gallagher Premiership.

A statement from the governing body said “the Greene King IPA Championship and men’s and women’s community game would be calculated on a best playing record formula maintaining promotion and relegation for those leagues.”

Despite other leagues across the country having final tables published on Friday, Haverhill’s Eastern Counties Greene King 2 West table remained unfinished.

Haverhill v Mildenhall - Haverhills Zac Evans.Pic - Richard Marsham. (21789104)
Haverhill v Mildenhall - Haverhills Zac Evans.Pic - Richard Marsham. (21789104)

It is understood a different win percentage formula from the one the RFU have used, as agreed with clubs at the start of the season with it being known some would end up playing more games than others, is the reason for this.

Unfortunately, the current league table software has not been able to display the win percentage standings on an ongoing basis.

Haverhill & District had been battling against divisional rivals Mildenhall & Red Lodge for top spot in their division thinking only one team to be promoted.

On the displayed points league table, Mildenhall & Red Lodge were on 55 after 15 games with Haverhill on 46 having played a game less. Haverhill still had four fixtures remaining.

Chairman Cleary said: “I have got a feeling if the RFU method had been done on our league I’m fairly sure we would have come top of the league.

“But they have decided not to do that and it looks like Mildenhall have won the league and we have come second.

“As of this morning though (Tuesday) we have been promoted to the next level.

“In theory, the season before we could have gone up as we came second and Shelford could not accept promotion as they had a team from their club in a league up.

“We decided we were not quite ready for it but now we have the chance again and we are in a different position to accept now.”

He added: “What was clear this season was there were two teams that were a higher standard than other teams in that league.

“Both were putting in some tidy scores and both are more suited to the league above.”

He delivered the good news to the club’s coaches and players on Tuesday and has confirmed they are pushing ahead with their target of running a second team next season.

It is hoped the second string will have a place in the division the first team are set to vacate for the 2020/21 campaign.