DK and Wolves have cause for celebration

Dudley Kingswinford and Wolverhampton are both set to clinch promotion after it was decided the rugby season will be determined by points average.

Wolverhampton line up for a team picture following one of the most comprehensive victories of their title-winning campaign                Pic: Ian Harley
Wolverhampton line up for a team picture following one of the most comprehensive victories of their title-winning campaign Pic: Ian Harley

The RFU yesterday announced a best playing record formula will be used to determine the final standings in a campaign cut short by the coronavirus.

While the complex formula will have a host of clubs around the country scrambling for their calculators, there are no such worries for DK and Wolverhampton, who sit top of Midlands One West and Midlands Two West (North) respectively.

With DK set to clinch a spot in the Midlands Premier Division after two straight years of play-off heartache, Wolves will jump back into the sixth tier of club rugby two years on from relegation.

The club had spent the past fortnight wondering whether the season might be declared null and void, meaning all their hard work had gone to waste.

Coach Ian Harley said: “There is certainly a strange mix of emotions. We are obviously ecstatic and pleased our hard work over the course of the season is going to be rewarded.

“We have spent the last few weeks wondering whether we were going to get anything from the season at all.

“There are a lot of guys in the team who have never won a league title before and I am pleased for them. There is also relief. To have not got anything from the season would have been horrendous.

DK’s Stefan Shillingford in action in the win at Ludlow Pic: Ian Jackson

“On top of it all there is an element of disappointment too. Any time you win a league or promotion you expect to have that memory of actually doing it, whether it be on the pitch at the final whistle or when you get back in the changing room.

“This time around there isn’t any of that. It has been taken away from us and while there is nothing anyone can do, it is still a shame.

“The one thing you can say for sure is that at some point, when all of this is over, there is going to be an almighty celebration.”

While DK and Wolverhampton are free to celebrate, the RFU’s lack of clarity over the precise formula used to calculate the final tables – and the delay in publishing them – means an anxious wait for many clubs. Though the RFU did not publish details of the formula it intends to use, the Express & Star has learned the governing body will calculate both a home and away average for every team, which will then be applied to all remaining fixtures to determine the final points total.

It means both Old Halesonians and Stourbridge Lions were waiting for the final tables to be officially published later today to discover whether they had avoided the drop from Midlands One West. The pair sat 12th and 13th in the table respectively, though Kidderminster, who sat 14th and bottom, are certain to go down.

Burntwood, bottom but one of Midlands Two West (North), must also wait to learn their fate, along with Wednesbury, who find themselves in the same position a division lower.

RFU president Peter Wheeler said: “We believe that the decisions made provide fair and balanced outcomes and maintain the integrity of the competitions. We have listened to recommendations from the heart of the game and the approach has been ratified by the RFU Council.

“This has been a difficult decision to make in the most unprecedented of circumstances. There is no single solution that will suit every club.”

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