TYNEMOUTH RETAIN MEN'S TITLE, NORTHERN FAVOURITES FOR LADIES TITLE
Here is an update on the latest position at the top and bottom of each division in the Winter Leagues as at the temporary suspension of fixtures in mid-March.
Men's Premier: Tynemouth 1 have retained their Premier title, extending their unbeaten run to 27 matches in league and cup competitions. With two matches remaining, Tynemouth have an unassailable lead on second-placed Westoe 1, with Northern 1 and Newcastle University 1 currently occupying the other two Northumberland Cup places. At the other end, Tynemouth 2 beat Northern 2 by 4-1 (18-8) to send Northern 2 down with Northumberland 2.
Division 1: Northern 3 extended their lead at the top to 21 points over second-placed Newcastle University 2 who beat Primrose 1 by 5-0 (20-5) and have two matches remaining as opposed to Northern's one. Westoe 2, only three points behind the University with two matches left, have perhaps a slightly easier run-in so it will go to the wire. Northumberland 3 are all but relegated and Newbiggin 1 look likely to finish in the other relegation place, as Chester-le-Street 1 are 7 points clear of Newbiggin with a match in hand.
Division 2: Sunderland 2 are champions following a 4-1 (18-6) victory over Hexham 1. Benwell Hill registered convincing wins over both Primrose 2 and Westoe 3, and need just 5 points from their final match at home to Hexham 1 to secure promotion ahead of Northern 4. Westoe 3 are already relegated, and Concordia 1, despite their 4-1 (18-5) win over Primrose 2, are still 16 points adrift of Washington Exiles in the fight to escape the relegation playoff place.
Division 3: Northumberland 4 are promoted, and Boldon 1 are almost certain to join them as they followed a surprise 4-1 (18-9) home defeat by Tynemouth 4 with victories over Consett 1 by 3-2 (18-11) and Eldon Leisure 1 by 5-0 (20-5) . In the battle for the promotion playoff place, Tynemouth 4 go into their final match (at home to Northumberland 4) with a 3 point lead over Sunderland 3, who travel to Consett for their final match. Chester-le-Street 2's 3-2 (17-9) victory over Eldon Leisure 2 lifted them off the bottom and gave them a chance of securing the relegation playoff place, depending on the result of their final match against Newbiggin 2, who are 4 points behind with two matches remaining. Consett 1 look to be safe.
Division 4: Primrose 3 are promoted as champions and remain unbeaten in the league, with a massive lead over second-placed Dunston 1. With three matches remaining, Tynemouth 5 have a 4 point lead over Hexham 2 in the race for the third automatic promotion place. Fourth place leads to the promotion playoff and Northern 5 (whose final match is at home to Tynemouth 5) are still in contention. Ashington are relegated, and Boldon 2's surprise 4-1 (17-6) win over Northern 5 leaves Consett 2 nine points adrift of Boldon with two matches remaining in the battle to avoid the relegation playoff place.
Division 5: Scotezzi sealed promotion with a 4-1 (18-7) victory over nearest rivals Chester-le-Street 3, who recovered to win their two matches in hand by narrow 3-2 margins to ensure promotion and close within one point of Scotezzi with two matches each remaining. The third automatic promotion place, and fourth place for the promotion playoff, look to be between Concordia 2 and Boldon 3 - with one match remaining, Concordia lead Boldon by 2 points following their 4-1 (17-7) win over Boldon. Westoe 4 are all but relegated, with Tynemouth Social remaining firmly in the relegation playoff place despite an unexpectedly convincing 5-0 (20-5) victory over Alnwick.
Division 6: At the top, Eldon Leisure 3 beat leaders Consett 3 by 4-1 (17-6) to close the gap on Consett to 18 points with a match in hand. Boldon 4 have maintained their 13-point lead over Northumberland 5 in the battle for third and the promotion playoff place, with two matches left. Walker remain at the bottom despite picking up a narrow win over Tynemouth 6.
Ladies Premier: Northern Ladies 1B are title favourites again, bouncing back from a 4-1 (18-5) defeat to Northumbria University Ladies by whitewashing Newcastle University Ladies 5-0 (20-0) in a knockout blow to Newcastle's chances. This leaves Northern an almost unassailable 14 points clear of main challengers Northumbria University, each with two matches remaining, and 5 points ahead of Newcastle University who have only one match left. Northumberland Ladies' 3-2 (14-11) victory over Tynemouth Ladies 1 has improved their chances of finishing 4th and securing the last Northumberland Cup place at Tynemouth's expense, although Tynemouth have closed to within 9 points of Northumberland and have a match in hand.
Ladies Division 1: Title favourites Northern Ladies 1A are 5 points ahead of Tynemouth Ladies 2 with the two teams meeting at Northern in their final match to decide the title. Third place qualifies for promotion to next season's Premier and Primrose Ladies are the favourites ahead of Hexham Ladies and Northern Ladies 3, both of whom Primrose still have to play in the final matches.