OTLEY are surprised with the system the Rugby Football Union chose to adopt to finalise the 2019/20 season which has lead to them being relegated from National 2 North.

The governing body came up with a formula based around home and away records to determine promotion and relegation in the community game.

Despite, the Zebras holding the final drop place before the coronavirus pandemic brought the campaign to an early end, they were only a couple of points away from nearest rivals Luctonians and within a win of 10th-placed Huddersfield.

Furthermore, they still had the bottom two to play, Scunthorpe and Preston Grasshoppers, who had all but been condemned to the drop already.

With the RFU's method in place, Otley finished on 62.79, 1.92 points away from Luctonians.

Otley's director of rugby, Charlie Maunder, feels the verdict did not take into account teams battling for survival, instead favouring those at the opposing end of the table.

He said: "It came as a bit of a surprise the way the RFU came to that decision.

"I don’t think anybody expected them to relegate three and promote three with the system that they used.

"They had to make a decision it came down to what your fixture list was. We have played the top sides and had the bottom two to play.

"Our average points was 62 which I imagine is the highest ever to go down in that league.

"They favoured teams that were towards the top of the league, there was no consideration for teams battling for relegation.

"They underestimated the efforts of the teams towards the bottom of the league.

"We are still digesting it, we will accept there decision and move on."

Maunder was confident if the season had played out than his side would have been more than comfortable in avoiding the drop.

"We wouldn’t have gone down," he added.

"We had Scunthorpe at home, there is no guarantees in rugby, but it would have been a big shock for us not to come away with five points which would have changed it all.

"We also had Preston who had fallen and were already getting ready for next year.

"We only had to be three or four points off Wharfedale at the last game of the season to then win and stay up.

"I understand that we are in that risky position but we are very disappointed there were lots of opportunities to avoid it."

The Zebras will now play in North Premier next season and Maunder believes his team will only have one target.

"Our goal is to win all the games and become champions," he said.

"It is not going to be easy it is a different style of rugby. We will have to adapt after being at this level for a long time.

"We are already talking to clubs and friends who have experienced it and taken on as much advice as we can.

"Our main aim is to keep the team we have got and bring a few new faces in and come straight back up."