THERE will just be one league level between the two Northwich clubs after RFU pyramid changes.

A restructure, which allows for less travelling and 12-team leagues instead of 14, sees Northwich RUFC playing in Regional 1 North West next season while Winnington Park will be in Regional 2 North West.

A new cup competition will augment the fixture lists so that club revenue is largely unaffected by the reduced number of league fixtures.

The new look will impact favourably upon Blacks and it will mean that the long journeys to Alnwick, Billingham and York are dropped.

Sandbach make a level transfer from the midlands.

Similarly for Winnington Park, the three long-haul journeys to Cumbria are lost though the venture to Douglas (Isle of Man) is locked in.

Regional 1 North West 12 teams, season 2022/23: Blackburn, Burnage, Kendal, Kirkby Lonsdale, Lymm, Macclesfield, Manchester, Northwich, Rossendale, Sandbach, Stockport, Wirral.

Regional 2 North West 12 teams, season 2022/23: Altrincham Kersal, Anselmians, Birkenhead Park, Bowdon, Broughton Park, Douglas (Isle of Man)Firwood Waterloo, Glossop, Rochdale, Vale of Lune, Wilmslow, Winnington Park.

Both of the town's sides will be severely tested in their new environments.

Newcomers Manchester, Sandbach and Stockport will test the abilities of Northwich RUFC’s Martin Poste on his expected return to Moss Farm as director of rugby.

Blackburn will be favoured to win this league.

On the other side of the fence, Winnington Park will find that Birkenhead Park, Firwood Waterloo, and Vale of Lune are entirely different prospects than the level 7 clubs from before.

The recently very well-funded Anselmians will be one of the favourites for promotion.