One question that we are asked on touchlines probably more than anything else is ‘can you explain the Daily Mail Trophy scoring system?’.
With the competition nearing its conclusion, and with there being a few ways that it could be won tomorrow, we thought now would be a good opportunity to explain how it works and also how it could be won this weekend.
How the scoring works
The league is based on Merit Points. The accumulation of these merit points is where the confusion lies, so here is how you get them.
Merit Points are your league points divided by the number of games you play, then a bonus is added for the difficulty of your opponents. We will explain how you accumulate all of this though, fear not.
Much like in the Aviva Premiership, League Points are awarded each game for your result, 4 points for a win, 2 for a draw, 0 for a loss, and 1 point for scoring at least 4 tries, and 1 point for losing by seven or less.
The bonus points for the difficulty of your opposition, or “Opposition Bonus” as we shall call them are awarded based on how your opponent did in last year’s Daily Mail Trophy competition. 0.3 points are awarded if they finished from 1st-25th, 0.2 from 26th-50th, 0.1 from 51st-75th, and 0 points from 76th and below or against sides not involved last year (these are awarded win, lose, or draw).
Hopefully we still have you.
So, to give you an example: If your team beats a side who finished 7th last year and gains a try scoring bonus, they would have 5.3 Merit Points.
4 points for the win, plus 1 point for the bonus = 5 points. Divided 5 by the one game played = 5. Plus 0.3 “Opposition Bonus” points = 5.3 Merit Points.
The difficulty of course comes when you start getting multiple games because of course your league points divided by games played gives you an average, which means your points tally can go down as well as up, which is why projections for future positions are so hard. In just two games there are twelve different potential points totals that a side can have.
To continue with the above example though, if your team then plays another team ranked 30th last year, and beats them but without a bonus points, they would have 5 Merit Points.
Here’s how the maths works there: 9 league points (1 BP win, 5 pts, and 1 win, 4 pts), divided by 2 games played = 4.5. Plus 0.3 “Opposition Bonus” points from the first game, and 0.2 from the second (opposition was ranked 30th) = 5 Merit Points.
Despite winning, the points total has gone down.
So to this weekend.
So what is the current situation?
Wellington College, Bedford, Kirkham Grammar School, Bromsgrove and Sedbergh are the five teams still in the hunt for the title this year.
Wellington have two games remaining, against St Paul’s and Marlborough College. Bedford have one, against Stowe. Kirkham have two, against Sir Thomas Rich’s and Lymm High School. Bromsgrove also have two, against KES Birmingham and Warwick. Sedbergh have completed all of their games.
As we have seen above, even having just two games can add a lot of uncertainty. But we have three areas of certainty: 1. Sedbergh have 6.10 Merit Points, that will not change. 2. Bedford only have one game left so by the close of play tomorrow that will be that for them. 3. Most importantly, we know where all their opponents finished last year, so we know with certainty what each side’s “Opposition Bonus” will be.
Opposition bonus could be where Bedford’s frailty is. Their success in the Champions Trophy could cost them as in order to accommodate those fixtures, they had to cancel two Daily Mail Trophy games, sacrificing 0.5 Opposition Bonus points. Those extra 0.5 points would send them into tomorrow at the top of the table.
So, as it stands, the table looks like this:
|P||School||P||W||D||L||L Pts||Merit Pts|
What could each team get?
This is where is gets complex. As we said, for two games there are twelve different possible points outcomes, and there are also twenty different results that can lead us to those twelve points outcomes. Bear with us though, below are how each team’s points could turn out:
Sedbergh – Sedbergh will finish on 6.10 no matter what, they have completed all of their games.
|Bedford||Total Merit Points|
|Current Total 6.16|
|Win with BP||6.48|
|Draw with BP||6.23|
|Loss with 2BP||6.1|
|Loss with BP||5.98|
|Bromsgrove||Total Merit Points|
|Current Total 5.90|
|2 Wins, 2BP||6.32|
|2 Wins, 1BP||6.21|
|1 Win, 1 Draw, 2BP||6.1|
|1 Win, 1 Draw, 1BP||5.99|
|1 Win, 1 Loss, 3BP||5.99|
|1 Win, 1 Loss, 2BP||5.88|
|1 Win, 1 Draw||5.88|
|2 Draws, 2BP||5.88|
|1 Win, 1 Loss, 1BP||5.77|
|2 Draws, 1BP||5.77|
|1 Loss, 1 Draw, 3BP||5.77|
|1 Win, 1 Loss||5.66|
|1 Loss, 1 Draw, 2BP||5.66|
|1 Loss, 1 Draw, 1BP||5.54|
|1 Loss, 1 Draw||5.43|
|2 Losses, 2BP||5.43|
|2 Losses, 1BP||5.32|
Kirkham Grammar School
|Kirkham Grammar School||Total Merit Points|
|Current Total 6.10|
|2 Wins, 2BP||6.67|
|2 Wins, 1BP||6.58|
|1 Win, 1 Draw, 2BP||6.5|
|1 Win, 1 Draw, 1BP||6.42|
|1 Win, 1 Loss, 3BP||6.42|
|1 Win, 1 Loss, 2BP||6.33|
|1 Win, 1 Draw||6.33|
|2 Draws, 2BP||6.33|
|1 Win, 1 Loss, 1BP||6.25|
|2 Draws, 1BP||6.25|
|1 Loss, 1 Draw, 3BP||6.25|
|1 Win, 1 Loss||6.17|
|1 Loss, 1 Draw, 2BP||6.17|
|1 Loss, 1 Draw, 1BP||6.08|
|1 Loss, 1 Draw||6|
|2 Losses, 2BP||6|
|2 Losses, 1BP||5.92|
|2 Wins, 2BP||6.77|
|2 Wins, 1BP||6.69|
|1 Win, 1 Draw, 2BP||6.62|
|1 Win, 1 Draw, 1BP||6.54|
|1 Win, 1 Loss, 3BP||6.54|
|1 Win, 1 Loss, 2BP||6.46|
|1 Win, 1 Draw||6.46|
|2 Draws, 2BP||6.46|
|1 Win, 1 Loss, 1BP||6.39|
|2 Draws, 1BP||6.39|
|1 Loss, 1 Draw, 3BP||6.39|
|1 Win, 1 Loss||6.31|
|1 Loss, 1 Draw, 2BP||6.31|
|1 Loss, 1 Draw, 1BP||6.23|
|1 Loss, 1 Draw||6.15|
|2 Losses, 2BP||6.15|
|2 Losses, 1BP||6.07|
As you can see, the number of potential outcomes is wide, but once it is all laid out, it becomes possible to look ahead.
Can anyone win it this weekend?
The short answer is yes, but it is fairly unlikely. Bromsgrove, Kirkham Grammar School, and Sedbergh cannot win it this weekend, no matter what happens. If results go their way though, Kirkham could be in a straight shoot out v Wellington College next weekend.
Wellington College can win it this weekend if:
They win, and Bedford get a bonus point draw or worse, Kirkham lose, and Bromsgrove fail to get a winning bonus point.
They get a bonus point win, and Bedford fail to get a bonus point win, and Kirkham get a single losing bonus point or worse. Bromsgrove’s result is irrelevant.
Bedford can win it this weekend if:
They get a bonus point win, and Wellington lose with a single bonus point or worse, and Kirkham get a draw or worse. Bromsgrove’s result is irrelevant.
So, what’s likely to happen?
Now that we have the above tables, you can just plug the number is for the result that you think will happen.
So let’s say the following happens:
Wellington College: Win v St Paul’s & Bonus point win v Marlborough College
Bedford: Win v Stowe
Kirkham Grammar: Bonus Point win v Sir Thomas Rich’s & Bonus point win v Lymm.
Bromsgrove: Bonus point win v KES Birmingham and win v Warwick.
The final table would look like this:
|Pos||School||P||W||D||L||L Pts||Merit Pts|
Which would be an incredibly close finish – and one that Bedford would rue, their extra 0.5 “opposition bonus” points would have made them top of the pile on 6.85.
That of course is just a projection based on those outcomes suggested above, but you can come up with whatever scenarios you think are likely to happen over the following two weekend’s, plug in the numbers, and see what unfolds!
Hopefully that explains things relatively clearly! If it has, please do share it with others – there’s a lot of confusion out there!
Whether your school’s points go up or down though, what seems clear is that these final two weekend’s of the season are going to be fascinating, and this competition is being fiercely contested.