It’s the moment of truth for Sheffield Tigers.
The fourth-placed Dore Moor side have put themselves in contention for promotion on the back of an amazing 14 match winning run but over the next four weeks, they face the three teams above them in National Midlands 3.
Tigers start with Saturday’s trip to leaders Bromsgrove who are eight points ahead but have played two games more and this is followed by an away clash at sixth-placed Luton on April 9 before a crunch home double-header against second-in-the-table South Leicester and third-placed Longton.
There’s just a five and a four point gap respectively between Tigers and these two sides but they have a match in hand on longton and two on South Leicester.
The title winners go up automatically to North 2 come the end of the season while the runners-up go into a play off.
Tigers will have taken much from last Saturday’s 11-try home romp that ended in a 74-7 demolition of Peterborough.
Equally they will have been boosted by their first half display which many felt was their most complete half of the season so far. It took Man of the Match Jonny West just two minutes to put the first points on the board courtesy of a penalty and shortly after that he landed the first of nine conversions, adding the extras to Callum MacKenzie’s opening try.
Player-coach Gregor Hayter touched down after a catch and drive and Tom Outram got in on the act to make it 24-0 ... at a point a minute. Scrum half Alex drage produced an Ashtonesque dive to add to the tally and there was still time for Outram and Hayter to bag their second tries as Tigers ended the half an incredible 41 points to the good.
It was a similar scenario in the second half. They made the visitors pay after they’d been reduced to 14 players as MacKenzie went over for his second try and Morley then raced in to score before MacKenzie completed his hat-trick to make it 60-0 with 20 minutes still left to play. Five minutes later Peterborough got their consolation converted try but it was Tigers who had the final say with Ali Thomson and Drage notching seven pointers.
The final score was by far their highest of the season and also their highest ever at this level, just beating the previous highest of 69 against Darlington in 2008.
Team: Bunting, Thomson, Lockwood (Cone), Joel, Hayter, Barnes(C), Pearson, Cook (Wragg), Drage, West, MacKenzie, Buchanan, Outram, Morley, Feeley (Wright).