Bill Beaumont County Championship Div1 South
Please note the change of venue for the Kent v Herts game on 06.05.17.
New match venue will now be:
Blackheath FC, Well Hall Ground, 3G pitch
Kidbrook Lane, Eltham
FIXTURES CONFIRMED FOR RESTRUCTURED 2017 COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIPS
The County Championships has undergone a restructure across the senior men, women and U20 County Championships with fixtures now announced for the new season.
The 2016/17 Men’s County Championships sees 28 counties compete with each side being seeded using results from the previous three seasons to ensure teams are more evenly matched.
Each team is divided into three tiers with 12 in Tier One, eight in Tier Two, and eight in Tier Three.
All tiers will play a minimum of three matches and a maximum of four. This will produce three finals, all to be played at Twickenham stadium.
Promotion and relegation in the Senior Men’s County Championship will now take place every two seasons with points accumulated from season one continuing into the following season. This means counties will have the chance to cement their position in the most appropriate pool and avoid situations where the same teams are being promoted one year only to be relegated the next.
Steve Grainger, RFU Rugby Development Director said: “County rugby provides players with an aspirational goal and focus to work towards throughout the season. With the restructured Senior County Championship, teams have been seeded to ensure the appropriate level of competition across each tier, enabling counties to find, maintain and thrive at sustainable levels while ensuring the ‘big’ rivalries and traditional matches still take place. In line with our overarching ambition across the whole of the grassroots game, our aim is to get as many people playing at the appropriate level as possible and the new structure helps to enable this.”
Last year’s Bill Beaumont Cup winners Cornwall will compete in Tier 1’s South Pool, consisting of six teams who will each play three matches. Cornwall will face Devon in the second round of matches in what promises to be an intriguing local derby while last year’s Shield winners Hampshire will begin their campaign in Tier Two against North Midlands.
Following a successful inaugural competition this year, which received overwhelming support from the counties and players, the Women’s County Championship will also be expanded for 2017 with 26 teams competing across two tiers.
Last year’s champions Surrey will take on Berkshire in the opening match of Pool 4 while 2016 runners up Lancashire will take on Cumbria in Pool 1. Both finals will be held on Sunday 28 May with many of the fixtures during the competition scheduled to run alongside the men’s matches to allow for double-header opportunities.
The National U20s Competition sees the top teams from each pool in the 2015/16 Shield event promoted to the Cup while the bottom pool sides in the Cup have been relegated to the Shield.
26 teams will take part next year with last year’s winners Yorkshire, the most successful side in the history of the event, taking on Northumberland in the opening game – a repeat of the 2016 final in which Yorkshire won 53-20.
Last year’s Shield winners Hampshire are promoted to the Cup under the new structure and will start their campaign in the top tier against Gloucestershire.
Durham, who just lost out to Hampshire in the 2016 Shield final, will also compete in the top tier alongside Yorkshire and Northumberland in Pool 1.