Stockport took one step closer to claiming their 27th NEMLA Premiership title at the weekend with a 11-4 victory over Timperley. In this season of postponements, upsets and inconsistencies, Stockport have remained the only undefeated team in the league. Despite some closely contested games, they have ground out the results to be within 3 points of being uncatchable in the title race.
They have a huge test this weekend against Poynton who have made massive improvements and stand in their way in both the league and in the Senior Flags. The two clubs will face each other in the semi-finals in three weeks time at Manchester Waconians LC. Should Stockport win at the weekend they will go 8 points clear with only three games remaining to play.
Poynton will be without captain Sam Russell who is currently recovering from shoulder surgery and will be out for both this weekends game and the semi-finals. Trailing by 5 points, its not mathematically impossible that they could mount a late challenge on the title. Cheadle have a game in hand on Poynton but trail by eight points. Stockport still need to face both Cheadle and Heaton Mersey who along with Poynton have all been the hardest competition the club has faced this season.
Last Saturday saw every NEMLA Premiership team in action with Stockport defeating Timperley 11-4, Poynton beating Wilmslow 10-4, Cheadle defeated Manchester Waconians 20-6, Heaton Mersey beat Sheffield Steelers 13-9 and finally Brooklands beat Rochdale 10-6. On Sunday Rochdale recovered from Saturday’s defeat with a 19-1 victory over Manchester Waconians in a vitally important fixture in the race to remain in the Premiership next season.
The bottom of the table is arguably the most interesting contest in the league with three teams fighting to stay up all on similar points. Rochdale took a huge step towards remaining in the Premiership with the victory over Manchester Waconians. They have a challenging four games remaining with Cheadle, Timperley, Stockport and Heaton Mersey all to play.
Manchester Waconians have five games remaining and currently sit bottom of the league with 5 points. They have an equally tough road to remain in the Premiership with Timperley, Poynton, Heaton Mersey, Cheadle and a vitally important fixture against league rivals Wilmslow. The Cheshire side have four games remaining and have the easier run-in, they will be targeting the games against Manchester Waconians and Sheffield Steelers as games to keep their Premiership status.
This weekend will see games on both Saturday and Sunday as NEMLA tries to catch-up on the games that were postponed due to the poor weather in January and February.
Saturday NEMLA Premiership Fixtures
Poynton v Stockport
Wilmslow v Sheffield Steelers
Manchester Waconians v Timperley
Heaton Mersey v Brooklands
Cheadle v Rochdale
Sunday NEMLA Premiership Fixtures
Poynton v Manchester Waconians
Rochdale v Timperley