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New nine-team league for London Raiders

PUBLISHED: 11:00 24 May 2017

London Raiders celebrate a goal against Solent (pic John Scott)

London Raiders celebrate a goal against Solent (pic John Scott)

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Revised line-up revealed for 2017-18 after three clubs pull out

London Raiders will now compete in a nine-team National League Division One competition during the 2017-18 season, it has been announced.

A 12-team group was originally set up, following applications to join from former English Premier League clubs Basingstoke, Bracknell, Peterborough and Swindon, and split into two conferences.

But Chelmsford, Oxford and Solent then announced their withdrawals from the competition, forcing a rethink.

The league management committee today confirmed the nine-team line-up of Bracknell Bees, Basingstoke Bison, Cardiff Fire, Invicta Dynamos, Raiders, MK Thunder, Peterborough Phantoms, Streatham and Swindon Wildcats.

Teams will play each other twice home and away for a 32-game schedule, with the top eight going into the play-offs, which will be regionalised and then lead to a finals weekend involving clubs from the northern competition.

A cup competition will also be set up, with details on the Division Two structure also to be revealed after further discussions.

A spokesperson said: “It’s been a long five days since we were informed of the withdrawal of three member teams from NIHL 1.

“We’re naturally disappointed, as are our member teams, that the Conference system as agreed in the meeting on May 7 is not going to be possible to run now.

“Since this happened, we’ve been consulting with member teams in NIHL 1 and NIHL 2 to resolve the way forward and it is clear that from discussions that we have nine teams that are committed to the NIHL 1 standard and we’re pleased to get this information out.

“It has always been our intention to return NIHL 1 South to 10 teams at the earliest possible opportunity. Therefore we can confirm there will be no relegation at the end of the season.

“For NIHL 2 South we are talking with all clubs involved and working as quickly as possible while ensuring that whatever is put in place is workable and sustainable for all clubs involved this year and going forward.”

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