A TRIO of Oxfordshire clubs won promotion in bizarre fashion on Friday night.

Witney, Grove and Gosford All Blacks have won their respective divisions.

But the success was only confirmed once they logged on to the Rugby Football Union’s website.

Last month, the governing body ruled the leagues below the top flight would not resume amid the coronavirus crisis.

In an effort to reach an outcome which would allow promotion and relegation through the pyramid, the RFU calculated final positions via a ‘best playing record formula’.

Witney, who were 12 points clear in Southern Counties North, would have been one of the most straightforward decisions.

Bob Fisk, Witney’s chairman said: “Whilst I’m obviously proud of what our club achieved this season – the playing and coaching squad have surpassed expectations, and our army of volunteers have all risen to the challenges of delivering match days at this level – it is difficult to celebrate in this current climate.

“We are of course pleased to be promoted again and able to plan for next season, but for now our priority and thoughts are with all of our members, supporters and everybody affected by this pandemic.

“We as a club remain available to assist the vulnerable where needed and we will only focus our energy on future rugby activity when the time is right.”

Grove, who were second when play stopped, leapfrogged Frome to take the Southern Counties South crown thanks to having two games in hand.

That scenario saw Chipping Norton slip out of the top two in the BB&O Premier, where Gosford All Blacks took the title by just 0.11 points.

Heading in the other direction are Didcot, who were bottom of Witney’s division.

The situation in the BB&O Championship remains undecided, with the RFU still to rule on promotion and relegation issues at that level.

It also impacts on Oxford, who finished adrift at the bottom of the Premier Division.


Calculated by RFU on best playing record formula


(C) Richmond 116.44

Rams 107.79

Rosslyn Park 107.21

Chinnor 102.60

Blackheath 98.17

Plymouth Albion 89.13

Darlington M Pk 89.04

Cinderford 84.32

O. Elthamians 82.21

Cambridge 80.29

Bishop’s Stortford 77.52

Sale FC 75.48

Birmingham Moseley 52.02

(R) Rotherham 48.85

(R) Canterbury 18.85

(R) Hull Ionians 13.75


(C) Taunton Titans 122.02

(P) Tonbridge Juddian 117.02

Redruth 114.90

Henley 113.75

Clifton 99.52

Bury St Edmunds 97.50

Leicester Lions 95.66

Esher 90.00

Worthing 75.10

O Albanians 68.17

Dings Crusaders 65.00

Barnes 55.29

Westcliff 46.44

(R) Sutton & Epsom 31.89

(R) O Redcliffians 31.38

(R) Bournemouth 22.12


(C) O Centralians 119.17

(P) Ryl W Bassett 111.09

Banbury 99.27

Oxford Quins 86.27

Marlborough 78.00

Sherborne 73.27

Buckingham 72.09

Chippenham 68.55

O Patesians 54.17

Beaconsfield 53.18

Windsor 51.57

Trowbridge 39.00

(R) Wimborne 37.48

(R) Salisbury 6.82


(C) Witney 98.18

Reading 83.11

Shipston on Stour 73.98

Marlow 71.50

High Wycombe 67.38

Aylesbury 64.78

Bicester 46.44

Stow-on-the-Wold 44.00

Wallingford 39.11

Reading Abbey 37.89

(R) Chesham 18.33

(R) Didcot 17.11


(C) Grove 97.59

(P) Frome 88.00

Swindon 84.18

Devizes 61.11

Swanage & W 61.11

Combe Down 55.00

Yeovil 48.52

Swindon Coll OB 47.67

Walcot 36.58

Corsham 34.22

Thatcham 29.33

(R)North Dorset 21.27


(C) Gosford All Blacks 88.86

(P) Milton Keynes 88.75

Chipping Norton 86.11

Abingdon 62.50

Wheatley 56.03

Slough 55.00

Bletchley 46.96

Tadley 36.11

Hungerford 19.21

Drifters 18.19

Oxford 5.00


Chinnor 3rd 107.80

Newbury 2nd 83.90

Witney 2nd 79.01

Reading 2nd 66.00

Beaconsfield 2nd 65.45

Rams 3rd 63.68

Windsor 2nd 38.50

Ox Harlequins 2nd 36.56

Amersham & C 2nd 36.00

Reading Abbey 2nd 31.78

Aylesbury 2nd 24.44

Bracknell 3rd 22.84