RUGBY: Exciting finish to rugby season with just three games to go

Dan Hull with Tom Oglethorpe in Saints' last home game with Upton   (picture by Mike Baker)
Dan Hull with Tom Oglethorpe in Saints' last home game with Upton (picture by Mike Baker)

Clubs either seeking promotion or trying to avoid relegation

It’s crunch time for our rugby teams and their crucial league campaigns with just three games to go.

Ben Scott and Ben Roach in Old Laurentians' last home game with Belgrave   (picture by Mike Baker)

Ben Scott and Ben Roach in Old Laurentians' last home game with Belgrave (picture by Mike Baker)

Rugby St Andrews and Old Laurentians are battling for promotion, while Newbold and Rugby Lions need to avoid relegation.

All four have home games this weekend, while Rugby Welsh, third in their division and still in with a chance of a top-two finish, are away.

Top of Midlands 3 West (South), Rugby St Andrews will need to make a quick recovery from their unexpected defeat by fifth-placed Alcester last time out.

Saints, on 70, are still five points clear of Old Leamingtonians, with Old Coventrians on 63 and Shipston on 61, with the latter two both having played one game fewer so far.

Andy Higham on the charge for Rugby Welsh earlier this season against Keresley  (picture by Mike Baker)

Andy Higham on the charge for Rugby Welsh earlier this season against Keresley (picture by Mike Baker)

This weekend bottom club Bromyard will be making the trip to John Tomalin Way, with Saints’ final two games away at eighth-placed Dunlop on April 14 and at home to Ledbury, currently sixth, on April 21.

Old Leams and Old Covs also play each other on the final weekend, making nothing certain except a potentially very close finish.

Old Laurentians are still fourth in Midlands 2 East (South) but after Market Harborough’s surprise defeat by Stamford last week, the gap to third place is now just two points.

Oadby Wyggestonians lead on 82, with Luton on 78, Market Harborough on 74 and Old Laurentians 72. OLs’ run-in looks a very exciting, but challenging one as Luton are their visitors to Fenley Field this weekend, they visit sixth-place Market Bosworth on April 14 and finish by hosting Market Harborough on April 21.

Sam Thompson making a break with Phil Reed Jnr in Newbold's last game with Derby      (Picture by Steve Smith)

Sam Thompson making a break with Phil Reed Jnr in Newbold's last game with Derby (Picture by Steve Smith)

This Saturday’s fixtures also see Market Harborough at Oadby.

Also enjoying a very good season, Rugby Welsh, who were awarded the five-point home win last week when bottom club Trinity Guild couldn’t raise a team, are now third in Midlands 5 West (South).

Aldridge lead on 42, ahead of Kings Norton on 31, with Welsh on 29 and fourth-placed Atherstone on 28.

Welsh have a trip to Aldridge this weekend, with no league game on April 14 and finishing by hosting Atherstone at Alwyn Road on April 21.

Dave Weston and Stuart Lee in Rugby Lions' last game with Camp Hill   (Picture by Ray Andrews)

Dave Weston and Stuart Lee in Rugby Lions' last game with Camp Hill (Picture by Ray Andrews)

After some inspired performances of late, Newbold still have a chance of staying in the Midlands Premier division next season, although it looks as if they will need to win all three of their remaining games.

The first of these is on Saturday when they welcome fifth-placed Doncaster Phoenix to Parkfield Road, fresh from their 19-0 defeat to fourth-placed Scunthorpe over Easter.

While Old Halesonians are bottom of the table on eight points, Newbold have 33, Longton 38 and Lichfield 39.

Newbold play the two teams above them in their final games, travelling to Lichfield on April 14 and finish by hosting Longton on April 21.

In the meantime this weekend Longton and Lichfield play each other and their remaining fixtures see Longton at Scunthorpe and Lichfield at third-placed Newport, which will both be tough tasks for the struggling sides.

For Rugby Lions, they are now looking much safer than they did a fortnight ago before their 45-10 win over Camp Hill.

Lions, who host second-placed Dudley Kingswinford at Webb Ellis Road on Saturday, are now tenth out of the 14 teams in Midlands 1 West on 43 points.

Below them Melbourne and Sutton Coldfield have 40, Camp Hill 35 and Wolverhampton 26. Both Wolverhampton and Melbourne have a game in hand.

Lions’ final two fixtures are against the teams in fifth and sixth, which will see them travel to Hereford on April 14 and then welcome near-neighbours Lutterworth on April 21.

So, all in all an exciting time for both neutral rugby fans and those roooting for their team. With four home games to choose from this weekend, the choice is even tougher on the final weekend (April 21) when all five clubs round off their seasons at home.