OXFORDSHIRE’S clubs have learnt their fixtures for next season as a major restructuring of the community game comes into effect.

National, regional and counties leagues will replace levels three to 11 of the men’s pyramid as the Rugby Football Union (RFU) aims to boost participation and retention. A new cup competition will also take place at the end of the campaign.

Many clubs will have fewer fixtures in 2022/23, while the number of leagues have increased to enable more localised divisions that minimise travel.

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“We are excited by the potential of these changes which put player welfare and player experience at the centre of decision-making, making sure travel requirements are appropriate and that clubs continue to be sustainable,” said RFU Council Member and Future Competition Structure (FCS) Group chair Stephen Pearson.

“We’ve seen a trend towards a greater number of players being required to complete a first team fixture list, which sucks players up from the lower teams and impacts on the number of sides a club can put out.

“We've sought to declutter the season, so it's more accessible to a player to play in short batches, for example four games of league rugby, followed by a break weekend.

“By putting the new, optional cup competition at the end of the season, teams will still have something to play for.

“This coupled with the potential to play in a Community Game Finals day at a prestigious venue is a dream of many players.”

Chinnor will have four fewer fixtures next season after National League 1 was reduced from 16 teams to 14.

Richard Thorpe’s men start and end the campaign against Darlington Mowden Park, travelling to County Durham on Saturday, September 3, and hosting the return fixture on April 22.

Chinnor welcome local rivals Rams to Kingsey Road in their opening home game the following week, while they are due at Old Bath Road on December 17 – the final weekend before Christmas.

An extra league has been created at National 2, formerly level four, placing Henley Hawks in the ‘East’ section for 2022/23.

The Dry Leas outfit will also have 26 games next season, down from 30, starting at home to Bury St Edmunds on September 3.

Newly-promoted Oxford Quins and Banbury Bulls will play in the 12-team Regional 1 South Central in the new campaign, having taken the top two places in South West 1 East last term.

Champions Quins begin with a long trip to Brighton, while their north Oxfordshire rivals are at home to Havant on the opening day.

In what was formerly level six, Witney host Buckingham and Grove go to Buckingham on the first weekend of the 12-team Regional 2 Tribute South Central season.

Four of the 12 clubs in Counties 1 Southern North will be from Oxfordshire as Chinnor 3rd join Gosford All Blacks, Wallingford and Bicester.