The Winter Leagues are now reaching the mid-point of the second half, with teams about to enter the final phase of the season. Here is an update on the latest position at the top and bottom of each division.
Men's Premier: Reigning champions Tynemouth 1 look to have the title sewn up again, remaining well clear at the top and unbeaten since 1st November 2018, a run of 23 matches, although Northumberland 1 ran them very close last week in a tight 3-2 scoreline. Tynemouth are now 41 points clear of second-placed Westoe 1 with Northern 1 and Newcastle University 1 a little further back. In the relegation battle, winless Northumberland 2 remain adrift at the bottom, with second-bottom Northern 2 looking unlikely to be able to overhaul Tynemouth 2.
Division 1: Northern 3 remain top but now only 4 points above both Newcastle University 2 and Westoe 2, so Westoe’s home match with Northern on Wed 26th February will be crucial in the run-in. Northumberland 3 remain bottom despite having picked up a couple of wins, and Newbiggin 1 will need a rapid improvement if they are to escape the other relegation place, as Chester-le-Street 1 and Primrose 1 are currently well clear.
Division 2: Sunderland 2 have extended their lead at the top to 18 points over Northern 4, with Benwell Hill 7 points further back. Northern host Benwell on Tue 25th February in a vital promotion match. Westoe 3 are already relegated, whilst the outcome of Washington Exiles’ home match against Concordia 1 on Thu 27th February will probably decide which of these two teams has to fight to retain its place through the relegation playoff.
Division 3: Northumberland 4 are runaway leaders and promotion certainties, 36 points clear of Boldon 1 who have a match in hand and look likely runners-up. Three teams, Sunderland 3, Tynemouth 4 and Eldon Leisure 2, remain in contention for third place and the promotion playoff. Consett 1 host second-bottom Newbiggin 2 on Thu 5th March with one of these teams heading for the relegation playoff, whilst Chester-le-Street 2 look almost certain to go down.
Division 4: Primrose 3 remain unbeaten, with a massive 75-point lead over second-placed Tynemouth 5, who have a match in hand and overtook Dunston 1 by a point following a 4-1 win over them last week. Three teams will be promoted from the division this season, and fourth place leads to the promotion playoff with Northern 5 and Northumberland Ladies remaining in contention. Ashington remain bottom and winless, and either Consett 2 or Boldon 2 are likely to finish in the relegation playoff place.
Division 5: Scotezzi lead the table by 9 points over Chester-le-Street 3, who have a match in hand. The third promotion place, and fourth place for the promotion playoff, look to be between Concordia 2 and Boldon 3, who are 5 points behind, with Sunderland 4 still in with an outside chance. Westoe 4 have slipped to the bottom, with Tynemouth Social firmly in the relegation playoff place after defeat by Dunston 2.
Division 6: At the top, Consett 3 have overtaken Eldon Leisure 3 to lead by 9 points, after three successive defeats for Eldon including a shock defeat by bottom team Walker last month. Northumberland 5 are 17 points ahead of Boldon 4 who have a match in hand in the battle for third and the promotion playoff place. After registering their first two wins of the season, Walker host Consett 4 this week with hopes of overtaking them and moving off the bottom of the table.
Ladies Premier: Newcastle University Ladies lead the table by 24 points after four straight wins this half, including an emphatic 5-0 win over their main rivals second-placed Northern Ladies 1B, and a narrower 3-2 win over third-placed Northumbria University Ladies. Both chasing teams have two matches in hand over Newcastle University, and play each other home and away, on Mon 24th February and Tue 3rd March, and with return fixtures against Newcastle University still to play, the title is still wide open. Northumberland Ladies are 6 points ahead of Tynemouth Ladies in the battle to secure 4th place.
Ladies Division 1: This division was formed at halfway from the three teams relegated from the Premier and the four remaining teams from Division 2. Northern Ladies 1A and Tynemouth Ladies 2 are setting the early pace followed by Northern Ladies 3 and Hexham Ladies, with the top three teams qualifying for promotion to next season's Premier.