28th July 2019, 15:59 | ncl
An incredible statistic emerged this week when it was revealed that the clubs within the Kingstone press National Conference league travel over 80,000 miles during their pursuit for glory over the course of a season.
The figures have been complied as part of the NCL's assessment of the demands on players and club finances of running a National League rather than one that is regionalised, and the results are quite staggering.
In the Premier Division the clubs travel collectively the distance of 22,790 miles, whilst in Division One it is the much lesser 12,329 miles, compared to the 19,124 miles of Division Two. But it is Division Three were the largest distances are travelled with that total being 26,337 miles.
It's a lot of miles chalked up for the sport and although some clubs have asked about a potential regionalisation of at least the bottom two divisions, the vast majority want to continue playing different sides from different parts of the rugby league fraternity.
Closer inspection reveals the reasons behind the miles, with Division Three not only having two clubs more than the rest in their 14 club league, but they also have Gateshead Storm as the competitions top travellers, with over 3,221 miles travelled through the campaign. Distances have been calculated from club house to club house for each of the clubs.
In Division One the clubs are all from the North West Lancashire or West Yorkshire and hence their travel is considerably reduced. The two clubs with the least distance to travel are both in that division with Normanton Knights and Featherstone lions each having 758 miles to travel.
They are statistics that make interesting reading, and further indicate not only the dedication needed by top amateur players to chase honours in their chosen competition, but also a reason why there are often teams struggling to get their full compliment of 17 players on a weekly basis.
Of course for those who do want to play regional rugby, then there are already option in place in the likes of the North West Men's League and Yorkshire leagues, but with another six clubs already applied for NCL membership for 2020 it would seem that the prospect of travel is not that much of a deterrent for clubs with an ambition to participate at the very highest level in the amateur game.