The make up of Round Three has created some exciting narratives - even this early in the National League season

Westcombe Park will be searching for their first win of the season on Saturday against fellow newcomers Wimbledon
©David Barnes

Season-defining fixtures? Not in the slightest but the way the fixtures have fallen in Round Three sets up some intriguing contests across all four divisions. 

National One

Be honest. In your National One pre-season predictions, did any of you have newly-promoted Sedgley Park picking up maximum points from their first two games? Those of a Tigers persuasion may say yes to this, but what isn't up for debate is the excellence of Scott Barrow's side thus far.

On their return to the third tier for the first time in a decade, a performance full of character saw Sedge stun recently relegated Richmond before they shone in the Midlands last week against Birmingham Moseley.

Right now, the men from Park Lane are overlooking the rest of National One along with this Saturday's visitors, Rams RFC. Seb Reynolds' troops are also two from two - which might have been expected from one of the favourites for the title this season - but those within the walls of Old Bath Road may feel there is still a lot more to come from the Berkshire club.

Slow starts against Birmingham Moseley and Chinnor have meant Rams have had to dig deep in both games so a complete 80-minute performance is what they will be targeting but against a Sedge side building confidence, that is easier said than done.

Rosslyn Park are the only other team in the division with a 100 per cent record so far and after victories over Plymouth Albion and Richmond, it is hard not to be impressed by the start Kieran Power's side have made. Next for Park, they welcome Birmingham Moseley to The Rock who arrive in the capital looking for their first victory of the season.

Cinderford may not have collected back-to-back bonus point wins, but they have won their opening two games and they will be aiming to continue their strong beginning when they travel to a Darlington Mowden Park side buoyed by a superb victory at Sale FC in Round Two.

Speaking of Sale FC, defeats to DMP and Leicester Lions is not the start they would have envisaged after such a strong promotion challenge last term. With this in mind, Jonathan Keep's men will be keen to open their account this weekend away at Chinnor, but Nick Easter's side have only lost one of their last six games at Kingsey Road.

Elsewhere, Taunton and Richmond will be looking to get off the mark when they meet at Veritas Park while Plymouth Albion go to Bishop's Stortford and two newly-promoted sides - Blackheath and Leicester Lions - clash in the Midlands.

National Two North

This term, the contents of National Two North will invariably revolve around Yorkshire derbies. With nine teams from the county in the division, a fixture between two clubs from the region will occur most weeks but perhaps this Saturday's early season meeting between Leeds Tykes and Hull Ionians could top the lot.

Yes, we are only at Round Three but both clubs have started well. The Tykes are the only side in National Two North to secure two bonus-point wins as they added last week's victory over cross-city rivals Otley to their hard-fought opening day triumph against Sheffield.

After a few difficult years, the mood around Pete Seabourne's side certainly seems brighter and a win at Brantingham Park this weekend will only enhance that.

Following their Round One success over Huddersfield, Hull Ionians backed that up with an impressive display against city rivals Hull last week. Whilst centre Lewis Minikin grabbed the headlines, the I's produced a solid all-round performance and that will be something they will be looking to take into their first home game of the campaign.

Two other unbeaten teams in the league - Rotherham Titans and Fylde - will be hoping to avoid the sour taste of defeat in Round Three. The Titans host a newly-promoted Lymm side who have lost both of their games by the finest of margin while Fylde welcome Billingham to Woodlands for a first-ever meeting of the two clubs.

The aforementioned Lymm are one of a quartet of teams still aiming for their first victory of the term with Otley, Tynedale and Sheffield Tigers out to kickstart their season on Saturday. In fact, something may have to give at Cross Green as Otley host Sheffield Tigers with Tynedale welcoming Wharfedale to the North-East.

Meanwhile, Sheffield entertain Preston Grasshoppers and Hull go to Huddersfield.

National Two East

A meeting of South-West and South-East London is our pick of the matches in this division as the newly-promoted duo of Wimbledon and Westcombe Park meet at Beverley Meads.

Let's start with the hosts. After five years away from level four, Collin Osborne's side have had a tough start to life back in the National Leagues. Games against Dorking and Barnes were always going to present tricky challenges and the Dons shipped over 50 points in both games against the two possible promotion candidates. With that in mind, perhaps this clash against Westcombe Park is the game which Wimbledon have been targeting.

The visitors will have something to say about that, though. David Marshall's men have lost both of their opening fixtures, but encouraging second-half performances against Tonbridge Juddians and Esher has to be something they can build from going forward.

The last six league meetings between the two clubs have produced three wins apiece but with both sides itching to get off the mark, who will come out on top this time around?

North Walsham are the only other side in the division yet to take a seat in the winners' lounge but they face a difficult task against high-flying Dorking in Round Three while Barnes - who are towards the right end of the table following two victories from two - visit Worthing Raiders.

Jacob Ford's Bury St Edmunds have also recorded back-to-back successes and the third-placed side go to Henley Hawks on Saturday while elsewhere, Esher host Canterbury, Old Albanian are away at Sevenoaks and Guernsey Raiders take on Tonbridge Juddians.

National Two West

How much value we place in early season, top-of-the-table battles is always debatable but Exeter University's clash with Hinckley feels like one we should be getting excited about. You may interject and disagree but these two sides are the top point scorers in the division and have also racked up the most tries in the opening two rounds (29 between them).

Gareth Elliott's Exeter dazzled in the sunshine last week as they ran in 10 tries to swat aside Hornets and make it two bonus-point victories from two while a first-half blitz for Hinckley provided the platform for their latest win over Loughborough Students. Director of Rugby Chris Campbell was 'delighted' with the performance of his team so a victory over a rampant Exeter would certainly represent a solid start to the campaign for last season's fifth-placed side.

Sandwiched in between Exeter and Hinckley in the embryonic standings are Luctonians, who will also be targeting a third maximum on the trot when they travel to Redruth while Clifton - who have battled to two wins from two - host newly-promoted Camborne with both teams fresh from derby day triumphs.

Elsewhere, Chester - who were able to claim their maiden victory in National Two West last time out - welcome Dings Crusaders to Hare Lane while Bournville go to Old Redcliffians, Hornets host Newport (Salop) and Loughborough Students visit newcomers Dudley Kingswinford.

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