KENDAL could get a 'Christmas present' in the shape of an agreement to increase the size of National League 3 North to 16 clubs and the likelihood that relegation this season would be suspended to achieve it, writes Richard Daniels.

The First Division clubs have already agreed in principle to the addition of two extra clubs to bring their ranks up to 16 through their representative body, First Division Rugby Ltd, and say that suspending relegation from Division 2 would achieve the objective.

Their belief is that the extra fixtures would provide the commercial opportunity to generate more cash and even offset any decrease in funding as the RFU annual grant to the clubs has to be spread more thinly.

The knock-on effect to National 2 and National 3 has been discussed by the clubs' governing body, the National Clubs' Association, which ran a survey of members recently and found a clear majority in favour of the idea.

A Task Group was set up to investigate the matter and agreed in principle to the FDR proposals. It found that while "the details concerning relegation and promotion had yet to be considered", an e-mail survey to its constituent clubs revealed a 24-16 majority in favour of the changes, even without any extra RFU funding.

The NCA has called an Open Meeting for club representatives at Stourbridge next Tuesday to consider the details and make proposals to put forward to the RFU.

Kendal coach Neil Rollings said: "We as a club are in favour of increasing the league for a number of reasons, but the rules remain the same until they become different."

Kendal's home match against Darlington Mowden Park last Saturday was postponed in mid-morning because of a frozen pitch and the match has been rearranged for March 11.

A trip to Fylde lies ahead for the Black and Ambers, weather permitting, this weekend and they name an unchanged squad from last week with the exception of Andy Hudson, who failed a late fitness test.

Kendal lost 68-6 at Fylde in the second round of the Powergen Cup in mid-October.

TEAM: S. Mulholland, J. Balmer, M. Armstrong, R. Dobie, D. Bibby, A. Boardley, J. Thompson, B. Coxon, D. Green, R. Harryman, D. Preston, R. Dougherty, L. Hayton, G. Holmes, D. Bowman. Replacements: A. Martindale, M. Capstick, J. Gough, C. Park.

The match kicks off at 2.15pm and the team bus leaves the Kendal Cricket Club ground at 11.30am.

n A new Kendal player of the month award, sponsored by Hayton Winkley & Sons, is to be introduced and November's award will be made before the next home match against Macclesfield on December 3.