By Phil Caplan, Date: 22/11/12
The first full Ukrainian Rugby League Championship has been completed with Legion XIII of Kharkov being crowned champions.
They finished the season ahead of Donbass Tigers from Donetsk, Dnepropetrovskâ€™s Atlant and the Krivoy Rog Rhinos.
All eighteen games were completed and the UFRL has declared itself very satisfied with, â€œthe development of the sport and the professionalism of the Championship management.â€
Legion, the eastern-most club who pioneered the birth of rugby league in the country, won all of its nine games, second-placed Donbas triumphing in six encounters. The Rhinos won three matches while newcomers Atlant have yet to taste victory.
In another major landmark, the four-team under-14 and five-team under-16 championships were also completed, in the 9-a-side format, with the cities of Krasnoarmeysk and Odessa expanding the geographical footprint.
Donbass Tigers won both competitions but in the younger age group they edged the Rhinos by just a point.
The Ukrainian season also included the third running of the Artur Martyrosyan A.V. Memorial Cup, with Legion defeating Russian visitors Nara in the final. Significantly, this was the first time a local side had won the cup, with Russiaâ€™s Vereya and a British BARLA selection the previous holders.
Currently, the UFRL is organising the first Ukrainian Cup, a competition that is being used to extend the sportâ€™s boundaries further and will include Simferopol based in the Crimean peninsula, over 400km from the nearest rugby league outpost of Krivoy Rog.