Winter leagues - second half update
21 Feb 2019

The Winter Leagues have reached the mid-point of the second half, with teams now reaching the run-in stage. Here is an update on the latest position at the top and bottom of each division, and important fixtures coming up.

Men's Premier: Tynemouth 1 are 6 points ahead of Newcastle University 1A at the top (following Tynemouth's 20-1 win over Westoe 1 on 21st Feb) although Northern 1 remain in contention. The second half clashes between these three teams all take place in March in what are likely to be title deciders, starting with University 1A's visits to Tynemouth and then Northern on 7th and 20th March, then Northern hosting Tynemouth on 21st March. At the bottom, Chester-le-Street 1 look certainties for the drop and Newbiggin 1 have a 2-point cushion and a match in hand over Northern 2 in their bid to avoid the other relegation place.

Division 1: It's close at the top with Tynemouth 2 leading by 20 points from Sunderland 1, who have a match in hand. Northumberland 2 are their nearest challenger a further 32 points behind with two matches in hand. Sunderland host Tynemouth on 7th March, then Northumberland host both Sunderland and Tynemouth, on 11th March and 3rd April respectively, realistically needing to win both matches. Bottom teams Washington and Concordia 1 look to be in trouble, with Tynemouth 3 and Hexham 1 pulling away.

Division 2: Northern 3 with their rapidly improving junior players have a commanding 15-point lead and a game in hand over Primrose 1, with no other teams in promotion contention. Primrose host Northern on 12th March and anything other than a convincing Primrose win will confirm the title for Northern. Meanwhile Tynemouth 4 are certainties to go down and either Boldon 1 or Benwell Hill look likely to join them, Boldon having a 3-point advantage, so their home match with Benwell on 20th March will be pivotal.

Division 3: Primrose 2 lead the way but Westoe 3, with two matches in hand, are 27 points behind and Northern 4 are still in contention with one match in hand, 25 points behind Primrose (whom they have already beaten this half). Westoe will look for revenge at home to Primrose on 1st March, and their final fixture away to Northern on 2nd April will probably settle the promotion and title issues. Northumberland Ladies look doomed, with Hexham 2 needing to beat Chester-le-Street 2 by a big margin in both teams' final match on 20th March to have any chance of overhauling them and staying up.

Division 4: It's still a two-horse race between Chester-le-Street 3 and Northumberland 4, with Chester-le-Street having a 4-point advantage after completing the double over Northumberland, and Eldon Leisure 2 too far off the pace. Tynemouth Social and Ashington are relegation favourites, with Consett 2 looking safe.

Division 5: Sunderland 3 have taken over as favourites for promotion, maintaining their winning run by beating rivals Primrose 3, with Tynemouth 5 overcoming a fading Boldon 2 to maintain their challenge in a very competitive division in which all four of these teams still have a genuine chance. Primrose have the easiest run-in, whereas Sunderland have to play both Tynemouth at home and then Boldon away on 6th and 18th March respectively. Concordia 3 are favourites for the drop and 2nd-bottom Consett 3 have a chance of overhauling Dunston 2 if they can beat Dunston away on 13th March and then Concordia away in their final match on 27th March.

Division 6: Boldon 3 lead by 8 points from Northern 6, who have a match in hand, and by 16 points over Chester-le-Street 4, who have two matches in hand. All three teams still have to play each other, with Northern at home to Chester-le-Street on 1st March, and Boldon at home to both Northern and Chester-le-Street on 5th and 19th March respectively. Northern Juniors 2 and Walker are adrift at the foot of the table, and Newbiggin 3, despite a downturn in form, look safe.

Division 7: In the battle of the 4th teams, Westoe 4 have a 7-point lead over Sunderland 4 who are a further 5 points ahead of Boldon 4 with just two fixtures remaining. Sunderland play Boldon at home on 25th February then travel to Westoe on 7th March. This concludes Westoe's and Sunderland's season, but the lower of these teams will have to wait until Boldon's final match on 27th March at home to Northumberland 5 to find out whether they or Boldon will clinch the second automatic promotion place. At the bottom, Dunston 3 lead Consett 4 by a single point in the attempt to avoid the wooden spoon.

Ladies Premier: Tynemouth Ladies 1 have registered back-to-back wins over main rivals Northern Ladies 1A to complete a treble over them for the season, and are on course to claim the title back from Northern. Tynemouth finish with back-to-back fixtures on 14th and 18th March against Northern Ladies 1B, who are looking to hold on to 3rd place if they can beat Northumbria University Ladies at home on 11th March.

Ladies Division 1: This division started in January and at halfway, the two ex-Premier teams lead, with Primrose Ladies unbeaten ahead of Northumberland Ladies, followed by the two teams promoted from Division 2, Northern Ladies 3 and Hexham Ladies. Northern Ladies have lost narrowly away to both Primrose and Northumberland, and will be looking to turn things around on their own courts in the second round of fixtures.

Ladies Division 2: A strengthened Tynemouth Ladies 2 surprised Eldon Leisure Ladies to take a 9-point lead over Eldon, and the return fixture at Eldon on 27th March looks likely to settle the title. Meanwhile Tynemouth Ladies 3 beat Concordia Ladies to move within 8 points of Concordia, and their return fixture at Tynemouth on 23rd March will decide the destination of the wooden spoon.