CLEE Hill and Tenbury’s rugby clubs will both be celebrating promotions when coronavirus restrictions are lifted – with one’s success slightly more unexpected than the other.

While Clee Hill’s coronation as Midlands Four West North champions seemed a formality, given they were 14 points clear at the top, Tenbury’s promotion, announced last weekend, was more of a surprise.

Tenbury sat seventh in a congested Midlands Four West South table in which the top seven sides were separated by just seven points when the Rugby Football Union suspended play in March due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

But, by virtue of a ‘best record playing formula’ employed by the RFU to predict the results of the games left outstanding, Tenbury finished top, with neighbours Bromyard – previously fifth – second.

Tenbury director of rugby Andy Black admitted: “I think there will be a few grumbles from other clubs but our defensive record speaks for itself, as does our home record.

“Our defensive record (the division’s second best) definitely helped us in the calculations – and we’ve always said it’s not just about winning games, it’s about defending your line.

“I think 50 per cent of the club thought we might get promoted because most of the games we had left were at home and we were confident (if the games were played) we would finish in the top three.

“But to actually end up top is fantastic news – it’s testament to the squad and to the leadership on the pitch from [captain] Ben James. It’s a cause for celebration when we’re allowed to!

“We’ve had good periods and bad periods but we’ve stuck at it and turned Palmers Meadow into a bit of a fortress. The guys have put a tremendous effort in this season.”

Tenbury have now achieved back-to-back promotions to move up to Midlands Three and Black said: “It will be an interesting challenge next season whenever it starts. I think we can hold our own.”

Clee Hill, meanwhile, ended the season with just two defeats in 17 league games as promotion eased some of the heartache of last month’s Midlands Junior Vase final defeat to Birstall.

Skipper Charlie Evans said: “We didn’t know what to expect in terms of what would happen with promotion and relegation so it’s a relief.

“We worked hard for it and we deserve it. If we had stayed down, we would have had another go at it but it’s nice to have recognition for the season we’ve had.

“We feel like we are ready for the league above.”