CHINNOR and Henley Hawks will not play any official competitive rugby this season after a proposed tournament was cancelled.

The NCA Cup was set to begin when social distancing restrictions eased, but plans have been scrapped with no end to lockdown in sight.

The competition was supposed to give teams meaningful games in the absence of a 2020/21 league season, with Chinnor and Henley grouped with Rams, Rosslyn Park, Esher and Barnes.

But the NCA said there was “unanimous agreement” among its 48 members at meetings last week that there would be “insufficient time to stage an authentic competition, given the continued uncertainty over if and when, training and playing will be allowed”.

Clubs will be allowed to play friendlies when restrictions are lifted.

Chinnor director of rugby, Richard Thorpe, said: “This decision allows us to move forward, and focus on plans that will benefit our whole club, and to ensure we are all well prepared for when competitive games finally return.

“For nearly a year, we have not seen a single match played at Kingsey Road.

“Yet we have still moved forward as a club in so many areas which each and every one of us can be proud of.

“Whilst all our players, from our Under 6s right through to the senior squad, are desperate to play rugby, rest assured we will be in a fantastic position when we finally do.

“Once the current restrictions lift, and when the club deem it is safe to do so, we look forward to reopening and welcoming you all back to Kingsey Road."

NCA chairman John Inverdale added: "With every re-tiering and subsequent tightening of restrictions, it was getting harder to envisage the NCA Cup getting off the ground.

“It’s with a heavy heart that we’ve made the call because there was a huge amount of enthusiasm for the idea, but ultimately we’ve had to concede defeat.”