It has been announced that West Wales Raiders of Betfred League One will not fulfil their games in the upcoming season and League One will instead be reduced to a 10-team competition.
The RFL have announced the news and Cornwall RLFC who play in the same division have released a statement announcing the news that League One will drop to a 10-team league and as such will run with 18 fixtures, home and away against each team, instead of the proposed 20.
Following Cornwall’s statement fellow League One clubs such as Doncaster and Hunslet have shared the same news with a similar statement released, but from their teams perspective instead.
West Wales finished bottom of League One in 2022 picking up just two points across the 20 game season and scoring an average of just seven points per game whilst they shipped a total of almost 1200.
Cornwall, the division rival to first release the news, also finished with just two points on the season as the two sides traded wins with each other as West Wales visited Cornwall in round five winning 20-0 whilst the return fixture saw Cornwall win 24-4 in round 12.
Cornwall released the following statement which has been echoed by both Doncaster and Hunslet.
“Cornwall RLFC will compete in a 10-team competition in 2023 after the withdrawal of West Wales Raiders from Betfred League 1.
“The revised number of competing teams in rugby league’s third tier was agreed by clubs today (Thursday, December 22).
“The Raiders, who were based in Llanelli, informed the Rugby Football League (RFL) yesterday (Wednesday, December 21) that they would be unable to compete in 2023.
“At a meeting with the RFL this morning, League 1 clubs, agreed that each team will play eighteen fixtures – nine at home and nine away – and that rounds originally scheduled for matches against West Wales Raiders would become blank weekends for respective clubs.
“The introduction of loop fixtures to avoid blank weekends was considered. However with a full 22-round fixture list already announced it was felt that it would be too disruptive to redraw the fixture list.
“Additionally, with the top team in the table securing automatic promotion it was felt that the introduction of loop fixtures might benefit some clubs whilst compromising the promotion prospects of others.
“Raiders’ withdrawal from the Betfred Challenge Cup will allow the invitation to two additional teams from the Impact Performance National Conference League – Barrow Island and Crosfields – to join the First Round draw at Wembley next month.
“There will now be 18 ties in the first round, which will be played in mid-February, with the winners joining the 10 Betfred League One clubs and 10 from the NCL Premier Division in the Second Round later in the month.
“Rhondda Outlaws are one of the confirmed entrants for the First Round of the Betfred Challenge Cup, while Cardiff Demons will enter the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup for the first time – a reward for their success in winning the Betfred Women’s Super League South in each of its first two seasons. The Demons are also hoping to launch a Wheelchair Rugby League team in 2023 following the success of Wales in reaching the semi-finals of the Rugby League World Cup.
“The RFL plans to hold discussions with Wales Rugby League early in the new year regarding a more sustainable and effective approach to the promotion and development of the sport in South Wales.”
Cornwall announced the news on their website and always tweeted about the news.
RFL Statement: West Wales Raiders
Cornwall RLFC will play in a 10-team competition next season.
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— Cornwall RLFC (@CornwallRLFC) December 22, 2022
— Doncaster RLFC (@Doncaster_RLFC) December 22, 2022