RUGBY TOWN: Third in the league with trip to Desborough on Saturday

All to play for as Valley come out for second half of the season

Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 10:48 am
Dylan Parker on his way to four goals when Rugby Town played Desborough in November Picture by Martin Pulley

Rugby Town’s narrow Boxing Day victory over local rivals Lutterworth has left them handily placed in their table, as they start the second part of their campaign this Saturday at Desborough.

Valley are now up to third in the United Counties League Premier Division after goals from Danico Johnson and Ryan Seal secured them success in their 19th game of the league campaign.

Town did concede their first home goal in seven and a quarter hours though, before Seal struck late to ensure the opposition made the short trip home empty handed.

Rugby are now only three points behind league leaders Quorn, with Shepshed sandwiched between the two having played five games less than both Rugby and Quorn - after the Leicestershire club saw another of their fixtures fall foul of the weather on Boxing Day.

The three clubs immediately below Town in the table - Holbeach, Loughborough University and Deeping - will also fancy their chances of advancing to Step Four of the non-league pyramid come the end of the season, with only five points separating this top six and potentially two promotion places up for grabs.

Last year only divisional champions Daventry were eligible for elevation, but further restructuring means that a runners-up berth in 2019/20 provides a route too this time round.

Town’s Club Secretary Doug Wilkins explains the situation: “The league clearly communicated the various promotion and relegation scenarios to us at the start of the season so that we could understand the end game.

“There are 24 automatic promotion places available from Step Five of the pyramid, with nine of these going to the top three in each of three leagues in the north of the country.

“The remaining 15 automatic places will go to the 11 champions of the remaining Step Five leagues - which include the United Counties League - plus the four best runner-up finishers in those leagues, decided upon by a points per game ratio.”

However the other seven second-placed teams will also have a chance of promotion, as Doug goes on to clarify.

He said: “The remaining runners-up will have an away play-off tie at a relegation zone team from the level above for an opportunity of a place in Step Four too.”

Town’s top-two quest continues on Saturday against Desborough, a side they thrashed 12-0 in the reverse fixture just over a month ago.

Johnson and Dylan Parker both grabbed four goals apiece against the Northamptonshire based club, as Valley registered a club record league victory in the process.

Desborough are 18th in the UCL Premier Division league table on 14 points, with just Pinchbeck United and Sleaford Town below them.