The advantage of picking first in the last few weeks has paid off for Matt.
Melbourne travelled up to Matlock this week. Patience prevailed and the ran out with a 33-17 victory and a bonus point win. Matlock will be looking over their shoulders still but have a 12 point cushion from Southwell.
So onto the other fixtures.
We both got the Market Rasen v Newark game wrong, predicting a Newark win, Market Rasen ran out convincing 33-10 winners and a try bonus point win to go with it.
We got 3 games correct
Long Eaton proved too strong for Ashby with a bonus point 31-5 victory and putting pressure on Dronfield in the current 2nd place battle.
Ilkeston beat Southwell 22-17 in what was a close game. A losing bonus point for Southwell whose form has improved but possibly too late.
Dronfield travelled to Lincoln and again another close game here. Dronfield won 19-17 but failed to pick up the try bonus point.
Onto the game we disagreed on. Loughborough comfortably. Eat wash our e 44-24 so the point goes to Matt here.
With 5 games to go and a possibly 25 points to play for, Melbourne are 17 points clear. Dronfield and long Eaton are 2nd and 3rd with 1 point separating them and they meet at Dronfield next week. This will be a big game for both sides chasing Melbourne but more realistically the play off spot. A low scoring draw, with a Melbourne TBP win would be a great scenario for Melbourne.
Ashby and Southwell remain in the bottom 2, now 12 points adrift of Matlock. Is the gap to big to make up?
Preview of round 18 later in ten week. How safe will Pete play it?
Updated 14:04 - 8 Mar 2019 by Andrew Jansen