The 2017 Kingstone Press Cider National Conference League is reaching a climax, and each and every one of Saturday’s twenty-three fixtures has resonance in terms of title, promotion, play-off, relegation and re-election issues.
Totalrl.com takes a brief look at each game…
KINGSTONE PRESS CIDER NATIONAL CONFERENCE LEAGUE
Saturday 9 September 2017
Egremont Rangers v Kells
Kells are in the all-important sixth spot ahead of the Top-Six Play-offs. Rangers, meanwhile, are only two points adrift of their Cumbrian neighbours – and, with two games left, are four points clear of the relegation zone but not quite free of fears of the drop.
Myton Warriors v Leigh Miners Rangers
The Warriors are only outside the Top Six on points’ difference. The Miners, whose relegation was confirmed last Saturday with the home defeat at the hands of Egremont, will be determined to go out of the top flight for the first time in style.
Pilkington Recs v Wath Brow Hornets
The relegation-haunted Recs are three points adrift of fourth-from-bottom Wigan St Patrick’s, with two fixtures remaining, and therefore cannot afford to lose. Fourth-placed Hornets, meanwhile, are jostling for position in the play-offs.
Rochdale Mayfield v West Hull
Mayfield are in third spot, and Wests are in fifth and, like their hosts, are striving for the highest placing possible as the Grand Final Series beckons.
Skirlaugh v Siddal
Skirlaugh, third-from-bottom, are a point shy of Wigan St Patrick’s and could really do with a victory over newly-crowned Minor Premiers Siddal, who will be determined to remain in top gear as the play-offs loom into sight.
Wigan St Patrick’s v Thatto Heath Crusaders
Pats are looking anxiously over their shoulders at the relegation zone. Thatto, second, will be keen to retain that status and subsequently go head-to-head with Siddal for direct passage to the Grand Final.
Featherstone Lions v Hunslet Club Parkside
Relegation-haunted Featherstone need to win to keep their survival hopes alive. Parkside, meanwhile, are chasing the title and are only behind leaders Underbank on points’ difference.
Hunslet Warriors v Underbank Rangers
A very similar situation to the Lions and Hunslet Club Parkside, with the Warriors in grave danger of the drop and Underbank battling with the other south Leeds side for the title.
Ince Rose Bridge v Hull Dockers
Ince, once seemingly destined for relegation, are now looking upwards and are only three points short of a play-off berth, and five points clear of the danger zone. The Dockers, in no-man’s land, are three points ahead of third-from-bottom Hunslet Warriors, and five points behind sixth-placed Normanton.
Lock Lane v Milford Marlins
The fifth-placed Lane need to win to help cement a play-off berth. Milford, meanwhile, will want to make sure of third spot and a home game in the four-team tussle to establish who will join Hunslet Club Parkside and Underbank in gaining promotion.
Normanton Knights v York Acorn
The Knights are sixth and, after ending a seven-match losing run with last Saturday’s win at Hunslet Warriors, will be keen to consolidate. Fourth-placed Acorn, who are three points clear of Normanton, will want to widen that differential.
Shaw Cross Sharks v Blackbrook
The Sharks are three points clear of the relegation zone and will want to bolster that position. Bottom side Blackbrook, meanwhile, must win every one of their last four games to have any hope of survival.
Drighlington v Salford City Roosters
Drighlington, who have won their last three games, are outside the relegation zone on points’ difference and will be aiming to boost their survival prospects against the section’s bottom side. Salford, who were formerly relegated several weeks ago, will want to drop into Division Three with a closing victory or two to reflect on.
Leigh East v East Leeds
Leigh, who are third-from-bottom, have everything to play for; so do Leeds, who are fifth and bidding for the play-offs.
Millom v Wigan St Jude’s
Second-from-bottom Millom have to win both of their last two games to have any chance of pulling off the Great Escape. Third-placed Wigan will be determined to retain that status.
Oulton Raiders v Crosfields
Leaders Oulton, who are one point ahead of Thornhill, are targeting the title. The Soap, four points adrift of the Top Six, must prevail to keep their hopes of featuring in the Play-offs alive.
Saddleworth Rangers v Bradford Dudley Hill
Rangers, uniquely among NCL clubs this Saturday, have nothing directly to play for, being free from relegation worries but unable to force their way into the play-offs. The Hill, meanwhile, are in the play-off positions dogfight.
Thornhill Trojans v Askam
The Trojans are only a point behind leaders Oulton and are aiming for the Championship. Askam, in sixth spot, will be aiming to make sure of a play-off role.
Clock Face Miners v Dewsbury Celtic
The Miners are five points behind sixth-placed Gateshead and are hoping to make up the leeway. Celtic, meanwhile, are striving to avoid having to seek re-election.
Dewsbury Moor Maroons v Oldham St Anne’s
The in-form Maroons, with seven successive wins behind them, are only a couple of points behind second-placed Stanningley and automatic promotion. Anne’s, meanwhile, are two points shy of Gateshead, and the play-offs.
Gateshead Storm v Eastmoor Dragons
The Storm, having lost four matches on the hoof, must arrest the slide to avoid slipping out of the play-offs frame. Eastmoor, who are all but mathematically certain of a play-offs berth, are jostling for position in the standings and will want to get back to winning ways after losing to Dewsbury Moor last week.
Stanley Rangers v West Bowling
Rangers are striving to avoid having to seek re-election, and will be bolstered by their victory last Friday at Dewsbury Celtic. Table-toppers Bowling, though, could seal the title with victory on Saturday.
Stanningley v Barrow Island
Stanningley, second, will be keen to keep the pressure on West Bowling should the Bradford outfit slip up at Stanley, and in any event are aiming to secure automatic promotion by finishing in the top two. The Island, meanwhile, are not without hope of a top-six spot.