Pertemps Bees’ relegation to National Two was rubber-stamped by the Rugby Football Union following the governing body’s rejection of their attempts to have the result of their match with Cornish Pirates reversed.
The Sharmans Cross outfit attended a hearing in London to contend they should be awarded league points after January’s game went to uncontested scrums for a period because the visitors were unable to field appropriate front row replacements.
Bees claimed they were seriously disadvantaged and might have avoided the 27-23 defeat had they been able to capitalise on their dominant set piece. Had the union agreed and awarded them the three points, Russell Earnshaw’s men would have beaten the drop after finishing the season second from bottom.
But a competitions panel threw out the case and left Bees facing a season at level three - much to the irritation of their head coach.
“I feel as though we have been mugged,” Earnshaw said. “I have got issues with the whole process. We finally reviewed the game five-and-a-half months after the incident.
“If it had been looked at in January, it might have affected the decision. It’s very deflating, after finally seeing the game it took them under an hour to reach their verdict. It felt like a box-ticking exercise.”
Bees must now prepare for National Two where they will do battle with local rivals Stourbridge for a route back to the First Division.
“Relegation affects our income streams but it might be the prompt we need to work on that. We have recruited a good squad that is capable of winning promotion.” said Earnshaw.
* European Challenge Cup runners-up Worcester Warriors will face Bourgoin, Petrarca Rugby and Bucuresti Oaks in the 2008/09 campaign.
Mike Ruddock’s men were narrowly beaten to the Euro crown last season by Bath Rugby in the showpiece final at Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium and now face trips to France, Italy and Romania to rectify that situation next term.