Rotherham Titans relegated while Harrogate are promoted by RFU's best playing formula

THERE was no reprieve for Rotherham Titans as they were relegated from National League One - but delighted Harrogate were big winners as the Rugby Football Union’s ‘best playing record’ formula came into play.

GOING UP: Harrogate have been promoted after the RFUs best playing formula came into play. Picture: Gerard Binks

With five games still to go when the coronavirus saw the season end early last month, Rotherham may be particularly aggrieved with the process applied to determine the final league standings.

When the sport was shutdown, they sat 14th - the final relegation spot - but still just four points adrift of Birmingham Moseley in safety.

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The South Yorkshire club hoped to pull clear but, instead, after the RFU’s maths was applied, the former Premiership side has now suffered its second demotion in three seasons to leave their future distinctly opaque. Nevertheless, Rotherham chairman Nick Cragg did not apportion any blame when making a brief statement on their website last night.

“These are unprecedented times and for many people this will be the least of their concerns,” he said.

“Once we are through the other side of this pandemic, we’ll address the Club’s challenges with the help and support of you all.”

Bottom-placed Hull Ionians were already mathematically relegated following their final match, a 64-17 loss to Blackheath.

Harrogate, though, were celebrating, being elevated from North Premier into National Two North - despite being third, outside the top-two promotion spots when rugby was halted.

They usurped Yorkshire rivals Sandal from second place.

Otley were demoted from National Two North, Richmond returned to the Championship as National League One champions and York were confirmed as champions of North One East where Bradford & Bingley dramatically climbed from the relegation spots.

An RFU spokesperson said: “The methodology to determine the final standings uses a team’s average points per game total for home and away fixtures completed.

“This average is then applied to all outstanding fixtures and added to a team’s league points total achieved in games up to the 14th March to determine their final league position.”

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