Cricket: Crucial battles in bid to survive
THE relegation picture could become clearer tomorrow night as up to seven teams are still to secure their status.
But with bottom-side Rode Park and Lawton hosting nearest rivals Woore, the number of clubs in danger is set to fall.
The pressure is all on Rode Park and Lawton as they trail Woore by 17 points, with a further two separating them from the right side of the line.
A late-season resurgence has been extinguished, and last week's defeat by Caverswall has left them contemplating the drop.
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Woore, in contrast, picked up a much-needed winning draw at Oulton last weekend, aided by Muhammad Arshad's 87.
Andy Kenvyn's side will be targeting a victory – or at least another high-scoring draw – to reel in the clubs above them.
Tenth-placed Eccleshall also have a pivotal encounter as they entertain Oulton, who are one place above them, and five points better off.
Eccleshall, who were missing star all-rounder Pradeep Jayaprakashdaran last weekend, suffered a nightmare day as they were bundled out for a woeful 25 by Stafford en route to a crushing defeat.
There were positives for Oulton, though, in that draw with Woore, as Rob Spruce and Dries Nell both claimed three wickets.
Bignall End, in eighth, are only 13 points clear of danger as they make the trip to fourth-placed Caverswall.
Bignall End missed the chance to all but secure their survival when losing to Kidsgrove last time out.
Caverswall are 26 points off a promotion place and look to have too much to do to force their way into the top two.
Kidsgrove's win last weekend was crucial to their chances of staying up and propelled them up to sixth.
However, they are still only 22 points clear of trouble with two matches remaining, and entertain leaders Newcastle and Hartshill tomorrow.
The front-runners saw their 19-match unbeaten run come to and end against Alsager last weekend, despite Andy Keates making a battling 62.
They are still 50 points clear of second-placed Ashcombe Park, who play host to Stafford, in fifth, tomorrow.
Park, though, are looking over their shoulder at Alsager, who are eight points behind and take on Weston at Fairview Avenue.