Although a full programme of fixtures in North One West still remain, a quartet of clubs already know their fate, baring a massive point’s deduction caused by a breach of regulations, before a ball is passed in anger on April 22.
Kirkby Lonsdale were deservedly crowned champions a few week ago after their historic season and will be hoping to preserve their unbeaten record at home against Blackburn at Underley Park on Saturday.
They will also be striving to claim their 25th maximum five pointer, the only club so far to deny them this bonus has been the Vale of Lune who quelled the home side’s fires in December, restricting Kirkby Lonsdale to 16-0 victory, their lowest points total of the season so far.
At the other end of North One West, the fickle finger of fate is pointing in the direction of Eccles, Leigh and West Park St Helens, subject of course to confirmation, all will be relegated, but in the upper reaches of the table there is still some speculation surrounding who will claim the play off place.
Second placed Birkenhead Park, with 97 points, are the bookies favourite, the pundits suggest they should win their away game at Altrincham Kersal, but hanging onto their coat tails are Northwich on 93 points. Mathematically it is possible, because if Park not only lose but fail to pick up any sort of bonus point and Northwich defeat the Vale of Lune and in doing so claim the five points, then they will go into the playoffs.
It is all conjecture of course, both clubs are aware of the prize that is on offer and no doubt lines of communication will be established well before kick off with ‘spies’ planted at Stelfox Avenue, home of Altrincham Kersal, and Moss Farm, Northwich, a venue where the Vale have yet to taste victory in the four league games played there.
In addition, Northwich won for the first time at Powderhouse Lane in the opening fixture of the season 21-8.
Relegation looms for Stockport and Firwood Waterloo from National League Three North down into North One West, but after a season in North Lancashire/Cumbria One, Carlisle have secured promotion; De La Salle are in second place with 97 points, ahead of Aspatria who have 92.
The position for the trail blazers in South Lancashire/Cheshire One is not yet resolved.
Manchester are in top spot with 106 points, followed by Douglas (Isle of Man) with 100 points, but Douglas have a game in hand over Manchester.
A great deal will be hinging on the outcome of Saturday’s games for these two clubs.
One will progress automatically into North One West while the other will face a play-off game against the second in North Lancashire/Cumbria One.
The final composition of North One West for the 2017/18 season will not be firmed up until all the play-off games have been concluded and even then should there been an imbalance of numbers the Level Transfer Regulations will be activated to ensure a league of fourteen clubs.