Both the First Grade and U85kg seasons start this coming weekend, with all other grades scheduled to get underway over the following three weeks throughout April.
Ten teams representing nine clubs will line up this Saturday for the opening round of the First Grade Thompson Memorial Cup competition, in a nine-week round-robin.
Defending first round champions the HOBM Barbarians and defending second round Johnsonville Centennium Cup winners Petone will compete against one side each from Northern United, Marist St Pat’s, Avalon, Poneke, Tawa and Old Boys University and two from Stokes Valley.
Stokes Valley is fielding two First Grade sides in this year’s first round. Should either of the Stokes Valley teams to win the first round Thompson Memorial Cup they will be eligible to join the HD Morgan Memorial Cup Premier Reserve competition in the second round should they choose to. This new rule is only open to them this year, with all other clubs already fielding teams in higher grades and the one team per club rule in Premier and Premier Reserve competitions.
This week’s First Grade matches are (home teams first): Northern United v Marist St Pat’s, HOBM v Stokes Valley B; Petone v Avalon; Stokes Valley A v Poneke; Tawa v Old Boys University.
The U85kg season starts on Saturday with a three-round knockout competition, ahead of the start of the U85kg Division 1 JC Bowl and Division 2 first round competitions starting on 28 April.
If teams win this weekend then they will have another match against a winning team next Saturday. The team who wins by the highest margin will have a bye on the winner’s side and proceed to the final the following weekend. Lose this weekend and teams will have a match against another losing team next Saturday. The team who loses by the smallest margin will have a bye in the loser’s side and proceed to the final the following weekend. The third weekend will see the week two winners play-off again.
The first round of the 2018 Women’s competition is on Saturday 14 April.
This year there were will be nine women’s teams competing for Wellington Women’s club rugby honours in a nine-week round-robin with one team having a bye each week. This is one fewer side than last year. Both Tawa and Wainuiomata won’t be competing this year, but Avalon return this year.
Keep an eye on this website later this week to view the Women's draw.
The first round Colts Division 1 John E Kelly Cup and Division 2 JRD Cup competitions also commence on Saturday 14 April.
Sixteen Colts teams are scheduled to be at the starter’s gates, broken evenly into two divisions of eight teams. All 14 Premier clubs will have a side, plus Old Boys University have two more teams this year.
The first round Colts competitions will run for seven rounds, but there will be no matches scheduled for Queen’s Birthday Weekend, to accommodate players going away that weekend.
The Reserve Grade competition for the Mike Copeland Trophy officially starts on 21 April, with 13 teams in a 13-week full round-robin, before splitting into two divisions for the second round.
There is a Reserve Grade opening day at Ian Galloway Park the week before on 14 April, with a day-long tournament that consists of each team playing several shorter matches and a winner determined at the end of the afternoon.
The President’s also kick off on Saturday 14 April. College rugby commences after the upcoming school holidays.
Looking ahead to the end of the season, there could be eight finals being contested on Finals Day in early August. These being both the Jubilee Cup and Hardham Cup finals, both Premier Reserve finals, both women’s divisions and both Colts divisions.