2019-20 Devon Merit Table Regulations
Devon Merit Tables - Regulations And Structure 2019-20
1. The competition shall be known as the Devon Merit Tables and shall be subject to the direction and control of the Devon Rugby Football Union Ltd acting through the table administrators and Devon RFU competitions sub-committee. Failure to comply with the regulations will lead to the application of penalties, including the deduction of Merit Table points.
2. The Devon RFU competitions sub-committee, including at least three members from participating Clubs, shall meet as required to review the regulations and structure.
3. Any dispute shall be referred within 48 hours of a scheduled match to the table administrator who will be responsible for a decision on the matter. Should the dispute involve the table administrator’s club, the matter will immediately be passed to another administrator who has no such connection. Any appeal against such decision must be lodged within seven days of notification together with an administrative fee of £50 (payable to Devon RFU Ltd.) with the Devon RFU competitions sub-committee whose decision shall be final.
4. Participation in the Devon Merit Tables shall be open to the second or lower teams of any club affiliated to the Devon RFU with the exception of and club which plays in the English Clubs’ Championship at level 3 and above. In addition, any 1st XV of a club that does not compete in the English Clubs’ Championship may also be eligible to enter the Merit Tables. Teams from the same club may not compete in the same Merit Table. Application to join the Devon Merit Tables must be received by May 31st prior to the season in question. The application must include a complete list of matches and results of the relevant team from the previous season. Any Devon Clubs whose 1st XV do not participate in the English League Competition may apply to join the Merit Table subject to that application being supported by two other clubs. Such application must be accompanied by a list of the previous season’s fixtures and results.
5. Fixtures must be arranged on a home and away basis with all other teams participating in the relevant Merit Table and on the specified league Saturdays in the RFU structured season. In Devon Merit Tables 2NE and 2SW only, ALL fixtures MUST be completed by the last weekend in March. Any fixtures taking place after that date will be regarded as null and void with no points awarded to either side.
6. Fixture lists highlighting the Devon Merit Table games must be sent to the table administrator by June 30th each year together with the name and contact details of the club’s Merit Table official.
7. It is the responsibility of the home team to arrange the appointment of a referee from the Devon Rugby Referees Society.
8. Both teams must report the result of all scheduled matches, by phone, text or email, to reach the table administrator by 6pm on the day of the match at the latest (with the exception of evening fixtures of course!). If a side scores over 20 points then the number of tries scored must be included with the result. Failure to report the score by the deadline will result in the loss of one competition point.
9. The Devon Merit Table Competition will be arranged as follows; Devon Merit Table 1 comprising 12 teams. Devon Merit Table 2 North East (Clubs in North and East Devon) and Devon Merit Table 2 South West (Clubs in South and West Devon).
10. Four points will be awarded for a win, two points for a draw and nil points for a loss in all completed qualifying matches. Bonus points will be awarded in the following way; one bonus point for scoring four tries or more, one bonus point for losing by fifteen points or fewer. Positions in the Merit Table shall be established on a points system. In the event that the match points are equal, then the team with the highest number of wins will be placed ahead. If that is equal then the team with the most draws will be placed ahead and if that is equal then the team with the better points difference will be placed ahead.
11. The winners and runners-up in Merit Table 2 NE and 2 SW shall meet in semi-finals to compete for the Dave Butt Trophy as follows; Winner 2NE v Runner-up 2SW, Winner 2SW v Runner-up 2NE. The winner of the Dave Butt Trophy will be given the opportunity of promotion to DMT 1. The bottom team in Merit Table 1 being relegated to the relevant table 2 according to their geographical position within the county. Where a team finishes top of either of the Merit Table 2 and the same club has a team in Merit Table 1, the next team in the final table shall be placed in the play-off instead. Where the relegation of a team would contravene regulation 4 above, the relegation shall take place and the relevant club’s lower team shall move across to the other Merit Table. Clubs may refuse promotion if they so wish but only on one occasion, if they are in the same position in subsequent seasons then they must accept promotion.
12. If a scheduled match is not played for a reason deemed unjustified by the table administrator (e.g. inability to raise a side), the offending side shall be deducted five points whilst the non-offending side will be awarded five points. If a scheduled match is abandoned for reasons of safety or weather conditions after 60 minutes have been played, the score at the time of abandonment shall stand as the result. If a scheduled match is abandoned for reasons of foul play, regardless of time played, the table administrator shall consider a report from the referee before deciding on the appropriate action. Clubs must honour fixtures in order of seniority, i.e. a third team fixture may be sacrificed, if unavoidable, in order to play a second team fixture but the reverse is not permissible. Where a club may be struggling for numbers and provided that the opposition are notified well in advance of the fixture and are in agreement, a fixture may be rescheduled for a later date. Withdrawing from a fixture less than 36 hours before the scheduled date will incur the five point deduction penalty.
13. If at any stage of the season a club has withdrawn from 25 per cent of their scheduled fixtures then their results will be expunged from the Merit Table and remaining games will be played as friendlies.
14. Matches postponed due to adverse weather or other justified reason (for example a shortage of players as per Regulation 12), the Merit Table Administrator shall decide upon which date the game shall be rescheduled. This would, where possible, be the next available league Saturday when neither side has a Merit Table fixture. Clubs will be expected to sacrifice any friendly fixture that may have been arranged on that day.
15. Clubs are permitted to field any players available to them, including loan players from other clubs. Clubs are encouraged to loan players to their opponents or other clubs to enable fixtures to proceed and in all such cases the final result shall stand.
16. Matches may go ahead with a minimum of 12 players per team however, other than for situations where a yellow or red card has been issued, or as in Regulation 14 below, teams must have the same number of players on the pitch. If a team has only 12 players available to them then they may borrow player from the opposition or, failing that the match will have to be played 12-a-side. In a situation where a side has fewer than 12 players available and the opposition has offered to loan players to make at least 12 a-side, the game will be expected to go ahead, refusal to do so will incur a five point deduction.
17. Players do NOT have to be registered for league rugby in order to play in the Devon Merit Tables although, with the exception of any player loaned by opponents, they must be bona-fide members of the club.
18. Three replacements will be allowed in any one game but up to seven will be permitted if both teams agree before kick-off and inform the referee accordingly. The laws relating to front-row replacements are as laid down by the Rugby Football Union and must be followed at all times. Where this leads to uncontested scrums, the match result shall not be affected even if this is required for the whole match. However, where a match either starts with or is forced to move to non-contested scrums, the offending side must drop a player from their team and play the remainder of the game with one fewer player and the result will stand. In this instance it is NOT the responsibility of the referee to demand that a player is dropped, it is the responsibility of the offending side to remove a player. Failure by a team to reduce the number will result in a five point deduction and the opponents will be awarded the win. The spirit of the competition demands that clubs should not field players who play regularly at a level higher than the team in question.