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Hertfordshire and Middlesex Rugby Merit Tables

UPDATE FROM THE RFU - 5th January 2021  (Extract from the RFU Website)


The RFU has suspended all community rugby activity until further notice following the government's new national lockdown.

In line with current Government policy, all adult and age grade rugby training and fixtures must stop.

This means a return to Stage A on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap for all players. Outdoor organised sport for disabled people is allowed to continue.

Community rugby includes all levels below the Greene King IPA Championship (scheduled to restart in March) and the Allianz Premier 15s and Gallagher Premiership which follow elite sport return protocols.

Read the full Government advice on what is and isn’t allowed during the national lockdown. The new restrictions become law on Wednesday 6 January, but people should follow them as of now.

There is an exemption in place that allows elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) - or those on an official elite sports pathway such as players who are part of RFU/PRL Academies and England age grade squads - to compete and train.

The new guidance states that indoor gyms and sports facilities will remain closed. Outdoor sports venues, including rugby clubs, outdoor gyms, tennis courts, golf courses, swimming pools, archery/driving/shooting arenas and riding arenas must also close.

What exercise can I do?

Government advice says that people can only leave their home to exercise, and not for the purpose of recreation or leisure.

You can continue to exercise alone, with one other person from outside your household, or with your household or support bubble.

This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.

You should maintain social distancing while exercising. Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue.

You can exercise in a public outdoor place including:

  • Parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
  • Public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
  • The grounds of a heritage site
  • Playgrounds

"While this is not the way we hoped to start 2021, we all need to play our part and strictly adhere to Government guidance over the next few weeks to protect our communities and to enable the vaccine to be as effective as possible, so we can all begin to return to a more normal way of life, including rugby, in the coming months," said rugby development director Steve Grainger.

"We would like to thank you all once again for your commitment and resilience in the face of adversity.

"We appreciate the support you have provided for your rugby communities and thank you for your understanding during the toughest of times, for the sport and society as a whole.

"We will continue to monitor guidance and to progress negotiations with government to finalise plans for release of financial support from the Winter Sport Survival Package."

If you have any queries, please visit the England Rugby coronavirus support hub or contact [email protected]

Online training sessions available for Age Grade players 

A reminder of online training sessions run by England Rugby for age grade players during November’s lockdown can be found below.

These sessions can also help young players to stay active at home during these latest restrictions.

‘Get Your Shirt On’ is a series of workout sessions led by former England players and aimed at the 6-18 age grades. Ugo Monye, Danielle Waterman and Danny Care have taken it in turn to put viewers through their paces.

With community rugby currently at Stage A on the Return to Rugby Roadmap, it’s important for players to continue to stay active, even if it’s from home.

Week One: Ugo Monye

Session 1 here (U10s and below)

Session 2 here (U11s to U14s)

Session 3 here (U15s and above)

Week Two: Nolli Waterman

Session 1 here – (U10s and below)

Session 2 here – U11s to U14s

Session 3 here – U15s and above

 Week Three: Danny Care

Session 1 here (U10s and below)

Session 2 here – (U11s to U14s)

Session 3 here – (U15s and above)

The Hertfordshire/Middlesex Merit Tables were created in 2002 to provide all those rugby sides from the Hertfordshire, Middlesex and adjacent County Unions, which were not playing in the Rugby Football Union National Leagues or other merit tables, an opportunity to play in a competitive structured competition.  The clubs are generally located in an area within 20 miles of the triangle formed by the A1/M1/A505.  
The teams participating are normally the 2nd, 3rd and 4th XVs of clubs, although several smaller clubs have entered their 1st XVs, this year we have seven 1st XVs spread across the tables. The Merit Tables are also used as a starting point for newly formed clubs to demonstrate their playing and administrative abilities before being accepted into the RFU League Structure. In 2019-20, the tables have grown to accommodate 68 sides, a far cry from the 12 sides that took the plunge in 2002, although down on our peak of 78 teams in 2013-14. 

This season we have consolidated our teams into seven tables, so that each table consists of nine or ten sides with two tables at level 4 to assist in reducing travelling. 

In addition to the Merit Tables, in 2019-20 we have introduced "Cluster Rugby", to provide games for those players unable to get into sides or whose games are cancelled.

Under the scheme, clubs across the Counties act as hosts, on a rotational and regional basis, for all those players seeking a game, who cannot be accommodated by their own clubs. Depending upon the numbers attending, they will arrange some form of rugby between all the players for that afternoon. The aim is to keep players interested and offer a starting point for new players. The support of the clubs in our counties will be vital to moving this project to fruition.

Rugby 2019 - Presentation 2 

Fred McCarthy receiving an award for his support to Hertfordshire and Middlesex Rugby,

being presented by Hertfordshire R.F.U. President, John Gregory

Fred began playing rugby in Hertfordshire in 1959 for the the English Electric Club, which then became Bacavians RFC in the mid-sixties, before merging with Stevenage RFC to form Stevenage Town in the early nineties.  He was a Hertfordshire referee from 1977 until 2002 and a was member of the Hertfordshire RFU Marketing and Communications and the Competition Committees for many years. Upon his retirement from employment  in 2002, he took on the task of setting up the Hertfordshire/Middlesex Merit Tables, because he had spotted a coverage gap between The Greene King and Middlesex Merit Tables. As Fixture Secretary for Bacavians and then Stevenage for 33 years, coupled with his refereeing experience around the Hertfordshire area, he had a good working knowledge of all the clubs, which helped in developing the Merit Tables. 

Fred is now standing down from his major roles with the Hertfordshire/Middlesex Merit Tables, after 17 years at the helm, passing the ball on to Ian "Foggy" Atkinson and Bob Moore. Apart from their many other tasks in keeping the Tables running, "Foggy's" prime role is interfacing with all the competing clubs, while Bob is now the keeper of all fixtures and results' He has the responsibility for the accuracy and compilation of all Herts/Middx Merit Table data on the RFU website. Bob has also picked up the task of promoting and developing the "Cluster Rugby" project, detailed above.

Both of them are ex-players and active Hertfordshire Referees, so have been in charge of many Merit Table games and know all answers!  

Fred continues to run the Herts/Middx website at www.hmmt.co.uk which includes the Fixture Exchange and he now acts as advisor to "Foggy" and Bob, while they continue to take full control of the Tables. One of the last roles he has yet to hand over will be the Knock-Out Competition and for this year only will be leading this project. Then he can really retire, but has he told you about his bowls activities in Biggleswade for older rugby players? 




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