So, back to reality. Hopefully. After two weeks of disruption across the National Leagues, we are back to a full fixtures list and, provided that Storm Jorge doesn’t do a number on us, we should see some exciting action across National 1 and National 2. (Photo Credit: Dr. Gareth Lyons)
With titles, play-off spots and races to avoid relegation, take a look at the fixtures that will be taking place across the country in divisions three and four of English club rugby.
One game immediately jumps out at the top of National 1. Hosting Rosslyn Park, Chinnor could draw themselves level on points with a bonus point victory on Saturday afternoon. Both picking up good wins on their last outing, the hosts will be buoyed by several recent re-signings, whilst Park are on a good run of results and steadfast in the belief that they can challenge Richmond for the title.
Elsewhere at the top, Richmond are at home to second from bottom Canterbury. Having not lost since the autumn, Richmond have both the form and necessary motivation to beat the Kent side in West London.
Blackheath play a Cambridge coming off a heavy loss to Plymouth last weekend, Rams will be at home to relegation contenders Rotherham, Darlington Mowden Park have a visit from a safe Sale FC side and bottom Hull Ionians play at Brantingham Park with Old Ethamians making the trip up.
National 2 North
Some 26 points ahead of their nearest rivals, Caldy have pretty much wrapped up their return to National 1. Hosting Scunthorpe, who had 109 points put on them by Chester last weekend, it would be a huge upset if the leagues bottom side were to upturn the league leaders at Paton Field, but the far more likely scenario is a 24th win in a row for the home side.
Warren Spragg’s Fylde travel to Loughborough where the away team will be hopeful of cementing that valuable second place spot in National 2 North with a victory. With Hinckley and Sedgley Park in hot pursuit of the play-off spot, there can be no mistakes from the side.
Both Hinckley and Sedgley, have potential banana skins at the weekend with the former at home to Wharfedale and the latter away at Luctonians. The far more dangerous is for the Greater Manchester sides trip to Herefordshire, with their hosts keen to put some distance between them and Otley in the relegation scrap.
Otley have a difficult Yorkshire derby away at Hull, whilst Chester host Preston Grasshoppers, Tyndale make their annual trip to Sheffield Tigers and potential relegation contenders Huddersfield go to Stourton Park in order to play a physical Stourbridge.
National 2 South
There is still some way to go in the National 2 South title race, with eight points separating first from fourth. Currently at the top of the pile, Henley travel to fifth place Clifton and will have to avoid any costly slip-ups if they want to consolidate their place at the top.
In second, Tonbridge Juddians are on the road too. They have a much shorter trip to Essex, where they play Joe Ford’s Westcliff. Eight points above potential relegation, the home side will be more than up for an opportunity to put some space between them and the drop whilst TJ’s will want to keep their good form going into the final stretch.
Taunton, who have a game in hand, travel to London to play Barnes. Beaten by Esher under the Friday night lights last week, Tony Yapp’s visiting side have played some very classy rugby this season and are easily contenders for a top two finish. As a result, they need to maintain their good form to secure, at the very least, a possible promotion to National 1.
Eight points from the top, Redruth have a visit from Old Albanian to loo forward to, whilst at the foot of the table Sutton & Epsom are on the road to Leicester Lions, Bournemouth travel to Bristol to play Dings Crusaders, Old Redcliffians go to Bury St Edmunds and, in the middle of the table, Esher have what should be an exciting encounter with Worthing to contend with.