National Two North gears up for 'Super Saturday'

South Leicester
South Leicester are just one of the teams hoping to return to winning ways
©South Leicester RFC

Round 13 in National Two North is set to be an explosive one as the top four sides are all in action against each other.

League leaders Macclesfield host second place Sedgley Park while Otley travel to Stourbridge in the battle for a top three spot.

Below all of this drama, Caldy, Harrogate, Leicester Lions and even Sandal all have their sights on moving up towards the promotion places while Chester, South Leicester and Huddersfield will be hoping to turn their fortunes around.

Elsewhere, confidence is high for the likes of Sale FC, Preston, Luctonians and Broadstreet as they look to build on recent wins to move themselves away from the danger zone.

Macclesfield v Sedgley Park 

Macc were relegated from National One last season, but after an opening day defeat to Stourbridge they have raised their game and continue to improve each week.There is no hiding from the fixture of the weekend this Saturday and that's why it is our feature game of the weekend. The top two go head to head in National Two North at Priory Park with Macclesfield looking to make it 12 straight wins and more importantly, take a huge stride towards the league title.

The Blues have won all six of their games on home turf including recent victories over Sandal and Leicester Lions. Giles Heagerty’s side will need another big performance once again in front of their home supporters.

Macclesfield Head Coach Giles Heagerty:

“We try to play at tempo whenever we can because it suits our game. So yes we’ll be looking for a degree of urgency for sure, but we also want to focus on our own performance and try to make improvements with every game.”

Sedgley Park are currently seven points behind the league leaders so a defeat on Saturday would certainly make it difficult for them to claw back that deficit. After suffering mixed results in October with two wins and two defeats, Sedge have now got their season back on track having won three of their last four matches.

The Tigers have won three of their five away fixtures this season and if they were to come away from Cheshire with the spoils this weekend, it would certainly reignite the title race.

Stourbridge v Otley

The next instalment of ‘Super Saturday’ sees 3rd place Stourbridge welcome 4th place Otley to Stourton Park.

Stourbridge are lurking behind the top two, but are nine points behind the front runners at this stage. The Midlands side have quietly gone about their business, arresting their early season slide as they have now lost just once in their last seven matches.

Stour could stretch that run by clinching their eight victory of the season (their fourth at home) if they were to beat Otley this weekend.

After enduring a period of four straight wins, Otley’s form took a slight knock last Saturday when they were narrowly beaten at home by Tynedale.

Despite this, the men from Cross Green sit just two points behind Stourbridge having won seven games this season.

The O’s have won four of those matches on the road and will be hoping for a repeat of last season’s result when the Yorkshire side won this corresponding fixture 23-37.

Caldy v Huddersfield

Caldy will be hoping that their recent run of poor results comes to an end this weekend. Having begun with six wins from seven matches, they are now winless in their last five and that inconsistency has held them back in recent weeks.

Having said that, they are only three points behind Stourbridge so a victory in their just their fifth home game of the campaign could see the Wirral side return into the top three.

Huddersfield are hoping that they can finally move out of the bottom three this weekend.  Having being promoted into this division last season and finishing in a very commendable 8th place, Field just haven’t built on that so far this campaign.

Huddersfield currently lie in 14th position in the league having won just four games this season. Most tellingly, all four of those victories have come at home and it really has been their away form that has let them down this season. They will be hoping to end a run of 16 defeats in their last 20 away fixtures this Saturday.

Broadstreet v Harrogate

An in-form Harrogate side travel to Broadstreet this weekend as they eye a fifth victory in their last six matches.

‘Gate had a tough start to the season, but since the conclusion on October , they have found stability and find themselves just four points outside the top three.

Current form is good for Harrogate and they have won three of their five away games this season – two of which have come in their last four weeks.

Broadstreet remain bottom of the table, but will be full of confidence this weekend after their very impressive win away at Sandal last Saturday.

That was arguably their performance of the campaign as ‘Street have won just three of their 12 games so far this season. Two of those wins came in their last four matches so it does give the side a reason to be optimistic heading into this encounter.

Preston Grasshoppers v Leicester Lions

Preston Grasshoppers host Leicester Lions this weekend as they aim to get back to winning ways after defeat to Harrogate last Saturday.

Garth Dew’s side currently sit on the cusp of the bottom three, although recent results and performances have improved. Preston have won two of their last three matches and have tasted victory just twice this season at Lightfoot Green which included a morale boosting triumph over Sandal.

Leicester Lions are enjoying a more successful season having won seven of their 12 games this campaign. They responded well to their thumping against league leaders Macclesfield with victory over Caldy last week.

The Lions are currently on a ‘win one lose one’ run since the middle of October and that inconsistency has halted their progress up the table. Preston will be looking to disrupt that sequence on Saturday afternoon.

South Leicester v Sandal

South Leicester have hit a bad run of form recently which has seen them drop away from the top half of the table. South had gone on an unbeaten run of three games, but three straight defeats has taken the club down to 11th in the table – eight points clear of the relegation zone.

There is no denying that South Leicester won’t be pleased with the start they have made to life in National Two North after promotion into this division, but they will be hoping a win against Sandal this weekend will inject a renewed confidence into the side.

Sandal are currently occupying 8th place in National Two North, but they are going through a sticky spell at present. They were also promoted last campaign and having begun the season with six wins from a possible seven, the Yorkshire have now lost four of their last five.

That run will certainly have taken the wind out of Sandal’s sails so they will be looking to bounce back by securing their third away win of the season.

Sale FC v Chester

An all north-west affair sees 9th place Chester travel to Manchester to take on Sale FC this weekend.

Chester’s season has been incredibly inconsistent so far. The Cheshire side were expected to challenge for promotion at the start of the campaign, but now that ambition is beginning to look out of the question as after 12 games, the men from Hare Lane have won just five matches.

Their performance against Stourbridge last week suggests that there are signs of life amongst the Chester players.  There is no question about their commitment, but one win in their last five and three wins on the road this season isn’t what we have come to expect from Chester.

Sale FC must be relatively pleased with how this season has gone so far. Five wins from their first 12 games since promotion has seen the National Three North champions move up to 10th in the table.

What has been impressive about this Sale side is their home form. At Heywood Road, Sale have won four of their six games and know with another win in front of their own crowd, they can go above Chester this weekend.

Tynedale v Luctonians

It has been a surprise to see how long it has taken for Tynedale to adjust to life in National Two North after their first ever relegation last season. New boss Andy Buist is slowly developing this season and the shoots of improvement have been on show in recent weeks with Tyne moving out of the bottom three thanks to three wins in their last five matches.

Following a heavy defeat to Stourbridge, the north-east based side showed great resilience to bounce back and overcome an inform Otley side away from home last week. They will be hoping for their good recent results to continue.

The Luctonians have also found a bit of form recently. Having escaped relegation on the final day of last season, it was always going to be a difficult campaign for the men from Mortimer Park.

However, back to back wins against South Leicester and Broadstreet as lifted the Lucts off the bottom of the table and now they find themselves just five points from safety. An away victory this weekend is not an impossibility.

National League Rugby