Everything to play for in rugby’s Woodfordes Norfolk Merit league

As the Woodfordes Norfolk Merit Tables season enters its final third there are still no clear indications regarding winners and losers.

Following a blank weekend each division has sides with up to eight fixtures left and a possible 32 points to play for, which helps keep the competition alive.

In Merit Table One, the top four are the same teams that finished at the top last season, with champions Norwich Medics in fourth, but still in with a chance of retaining their trophy as they have games in hand over current leaders Norwich II.

Surprisingly, the table is being propped up by two of the promoted sides, UEA and Crusaders, both of whom were strong last season.

Merit Table Two is looking a bit clearer as Lakenham and Fakenham, the two sides to leave Eastern Counties last season, are sitting at the top with games in hand over third placed Wymondham III. These two look the most likely to be promoted, with the top spot possibly being determined by games cancelled. With only one side being relegated it is looking grim for Broadland-Gt Yarmouth II, who are 15 points behind Southwold II.

In Merit Table Three, fifth placed Fakenham II can still take one of the promotion places as they have games in hand over all the sides above them. Of the top two, Swaffham II, who look like bouncing back from last season's relegation, have the easier run in, but Medics have been strong all season. Next week the top two meet and this may well decide who goes up as champions.

Overall, the Merit Tables have been more successful this season, with most sides trying hard to fulfil fixtures, even when short of players. There have been fewer call-offs than last season although three sides have fallen by the wayside due to insufficient numbers. Next season may see a reduction in sides in Merit Table Three, but structured fixtures for the top two tables. A more relaxed approach at the lower level would give players of all abilities the chance to play without the pressures of having to win, and may see the revival of some of the lower sides.

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