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Bishop's Stortford RFC given home game against Cinderford on first day of 2020-21 National League 1 season after provisional first phase fixtures are released

Bishop's Stortford have provisionally been handed a home game against Cinderford on September 5 to kick off the 2020-21 National League 1 season.

But the RFU has drawn up plans for three possible start dates as it awaits further guidance from the Government as to when the campaign can actually get under way.

As it stands, the game's governing body is hoping Stortford and their rivals can return to league action in September, November or January.

George Hitchcock (38822865)
George Hitchcock (38822865)

If the season is able to begin in September then a normal schedule should be able to be followed, with each side playing all 15 others home and away.

A November start would mean the first 15 rounds of fixtures would be played, after which the division would be split into a top and bottom half with a further seven matches against the sides in your half.

If there can be no action until January then only the first 15 games will be completed. How promotion and relegation would be determined in the November or January scenarios has yet to be finalised.

Alex Gilham (38822863)
Alex Gilham (38822863)

If the season can begin on a Saturday after September 5 but before Christmas, the fixtures for that day will be the ones played. For example, Stortford are scheduled to host Cinderford on September 5, but if the season cannot start until October 10 then Stortford would entertain Taunton instead, as per the provisional first-phase fixture list. Stortford would then meet Cinderford on week 16 followed by the games that should have been played from weeks two to five.

The second phase of fixtures is due to be released once there is further clarification in terms of a start date.

Meanwhile, joint head coaches Tom Coleman and Marcus Cattell have strengthened their squad by recruiting three former Felsted School students, with brothers Alex and Matt Gilham arriving at Silver Leys alongside George Hitchcock.

Alex Gilham can operate on the wing or at full-back and has played for Australian side Noosa Dolphins and Newcastle University.

Matt Gilham (38822861)
Matt Gilham (38822861)

Matt Gilham and Hitchcock both play in the centres or at fly-half and have turned out for Newcastle University and Liverpool University respectively.

BSRFC National League 1 fixtures (provisional first phase): September – 5 Cinderford (H), 12 Rams (A), 19 Plymouth Albion (H), 26 Chinnor (A); October – 3 Birmingham Moseley (H), 10 Taunton (H), 17 Tonbridge Juddians (A), 24 Sale FC (H), 31 Blackheath (A); November – 14 Darlington Mowden Park (H), 21 Leeds Tykes (A), 28 Old Elthamians (H); December – 5 Caldy (A), 12 Rosslyn Park (H), 19 Cambridge (A).

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