THE RACE for the 2018/2019 BICC Premier Championship is heating up as current title holders Yorkshire finally put some distance between themselves and close rivals Lancashire, as they deliver a crushing 32-4 defeat to last-placed Cheshire and move 8 points clear at the top.
Yorkshire’s B Team didn’t drop a match on Saturday, leading 18-0 overnight, and the home side managed to secure just four A team wins as Yorkshire showed their dominance.
Lancashire also had a convincing win over the newly promoted Northamptonshire 23-13, who now find themselves just four points clear of relegation in eight place with two fixtures remaining.
Lincolnshire 22-14 result over West Midlands sees them move into third place on 142 points, with Warwickshire in fourth and Glamorgan in fifth on 141 and 140 points respectively as the Bears took a narrow 17-19 win to leapfrog Glamorgan in the table.
Despite the 20-16 scoreline in Essex’s favour, Hampshire remain above them in sixth place on 124 points. Essex have closed the gap to just three points in seventh place, but more importantly sees move 12 point clear of ninth placed West Midlands.
Only eleven points separate first and fifth place in Division One after the seventh BICC weekend of the calendar.
Cornwall, who narrowly missed out promotion last season, head the Division One table on 162 points after a comprehensive 24-12 win over Sussex, who now sit in seventh position, just five point clear of relegation.
Dorset’s win over Hertfordshire 22-14 sees them move into second place on 156 points, with Herts now in fifth place on 151.
Devon and Cambridgeshire both moved down into Division One last season and are looking to reconfirm themselves as premiership contenders next season. The visitors beat Cambridgeshire’s Blue Army 19-17 putting themselves in fourth place on 154 points with their close rivals in third on 155.
London sit comfortably mid-table as they beat Gwent away 20-16, who now find themselves in ninth place and will be hoping for two good results from their last two matches in order to avoid relegation.
Oxfordshire’s 20-16 win over Nottinghamshire sees the latter remain in tenth place, now 25 points from safety, whilst Oxfordshire sit in eighth place on 118 points.
Humberside maintain top spot in Division Two, however their 18-all draw with Suffolk sees Surrey reduce the gap in second place to four points following their 20-16 win over Gwynedd.
Last year’s Division Three Champions Berkshire fell victim to third-placed Worcestershire 21-15, are currently sat eighth on the Division Two table, 15 points clear of ninth-placed Cumbria.
Kent journeyed north to County Durham, winning 20-16 as they took the final two matches of the day and denied the home team a draw. Kent sit fourth on 143 points, however the weekend sees last year’s Division One contenders Durham still struggling to move off of tenth spot.
Hosts to Cumbria, Staffordshire take Division Two’s third 20-16 win of the weekend, leaving the visitors languishing in ninth spot and Staffordshire safely in sixth spot on 129 points.
Somerset and Buckinghamshire look set on dominating Division Three as they did in Division Four last season.
The Division Three newcomers currently head the table, with Somerset out in front on 156 points and Buckinghamshire in second on 154 following their respective wins over Norfolk 19-17 and Cleveland 22-14.
Gloucestershire took a much-needed win over struggling Northumberland, who find themselves in tenth place, 36 points adrift from safety, to move just two point behind Wiltshire in eighth place.
Wiltshire took a 21-15 win over Derbyshire as they fight to stay in Division Three, which allowed Merseyside to move above Derbyshire into fourth place following their 18-all result with Montgomery and Radnor.
The Welsh squads from Clwyd and Pembrokeshire are top of Division Four, with Middlesex hot on the heels of Pembrokeshire in third place. Clwyd are 11 points clear on 166 points, but with only 6 points separating 2ndan 5thplace, there is all to play for to see who secures promotion.
Clwyd’s 21-15 win over the West of England sees the latter remain in ninth position, with the Isle of Wight in tenth following a 24-12 defeat at the hands of Leicestershire.
Pembrokeshire had a 20-16 win over Tyne and Wear, who are looking to regain their position in Division Three following their relegation last season, whilst Middlesex’s progress up the table came at the expense of Bedfordshire, who lost 22-14 to the visitors.
Fourth placed Breconshire remain in contention for promotion despite a 19-17 defeat at the hands of eighth placed Shropshire.
Grampian maintained their stance as the team to beat in the Scottish North as they stretched their points tally to 170 following a crushing 25-3 defeat over Perthshire.
Second placed Angus, now 31 point adrift of top spot were narrowly defeated 15-13 away to Highland, allowing Fife to close the gap on second place to 13 points as they beat East Stirlingshire 17-11.
A 17-11 defeat for Tay Valley at the hands of Central sees them remain in eighth place whilst Central move into sixth.
Greater Glasgow stretched its lead in the Scottish South Division with a 22-6 win over Clackmannanshire and are now 25 points ahead of Borders, although the rest of the field still have a game in hand.
Borders 18-10 win over Ayrshire have seen them jump into second place on 116, pushing Ayrshire into third place on 110 points.
Renfewshire beat visitors Lanarkshire 15-13 and remain in fourth place despite having penalty points deducted, with Lanarkshire now five points behind in fifth place.
With two more weekends left to play, the race is on between Greater Glasgow, Borders and Ayrshire to see who will claim the 2018/19 Scottish South title.
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