Ten out of 10 and counting. Now all Sheffield Tigers have to do is the ‘same again’ over the remaining 10 matches and the ultimate prize could be theirs.
The likelihood of them achieving such a feat - with a few extra bonus points thrown in for good measure - is bordering on fantasy but it certainly won’t be for the lack of trying.
Tigers’ 10 match winning streak has established a platform that keeps their National Midlands 3 promotion dream very much alive.
National 2 beckons and the glory days will truly be there for one and all at Dore Moor.
Richard Joel has played a big part in the club’s on-going success story over the last few years and knows they need to maintain their winning mentality until the season’s end.
He said: “The pressure is on us to keep winning. If we do then we’ll definitely be in the mix at the end of the season.
“Our defence is looking solid - we’ve only conceded a couple of tries in the last three or four matches - and we’ve also got a very decent attack which is always capable of bringing home the bonus point.
“The top three have opened up a gap and we’re in the chasing pack but we’ve got games in hand over all the teams above us and we’ve still got to play them all. We really need to keep the momentum going as one slip-up now could prove costly.
“We’ve got some very talented young lads and quite a number of players who have performed at a much higher level and others who have the potential to do so. It’s a good mix and while I’ve no doubt injury and age will eventually take its toll, I hope we can keep this squad together.”
Richard admits that he’s never known a season like it for disruptions due to the weather but while it’s been frustrating the ‘breaks’ have helped keep the side fit and fresh.
Joel’s Man of the Match performance helped inspire Tigers to their latest success, a 25-7 home victory over Luton which saw them leapfrog their opponents and move up three places to fifth.
With player-coach Greg Hayter out with a hamstring strain, Nick Pearson unavailable and prop Sam Lockwood on duty with the England Universities side, there was some reorganisation in the pack. Prop Simon Bunting returned after a long injury break while Callum McKenzie earned a recall and there was a start for young back row Frank Wragg.
Tigers broke the deadlock after 25 minutes when John Buchanan made an initial break from a line out and full-back Jon Feeley timed his burst to perfection to race in from 40 metres. Jonny West added the conversion.
Worse was to follow for Luton, who were making their first ever visit to Dore Moor, when a back row player was yellow carded. Tigers kicked to the corner and the ensuing maul pushed the visitors over their try line and Wragg was credited with the touchdown which went unconverted.
Home prop Anthony Ross was then sin-binned but the defence held firm and West put Tigers further ahead with a penalty in the opening minute of the second half. Shortly after they conceded a converted try but West’s reliable boot opened the gap to 11 points after 52 minutes and Luton then lost another player to a yellow card.
They secured the match with a converted try. Tigers opted for a scrum after another Luton penalty and a strong surge resulted in an Andy Barnes touchdown.
Unfortunately their efforts to secure a bonus point with a fourth try failed when a late passage of play ended when a Tigers player knocked on with the try line beckoning.
Team: Ross, Thompson, Bunting (Cone), Joel, Cook, Wragg, Barnes, McKenzie (Rogers), Drage (Wright), West, Clark, Buchanan, Outram, Morley, Feeley.
Tigers welcome first-time visitors Malvern to Dore Moor on Saturday (3pm).