At the start of today's busy schedule at Walsall, Chester were undefeated and in top place with seven points, followed by five teams on five points, then Caledonia Storm on four - and only Watford Saxons (five matches, five defeats) already doomed to reapplying for League status in 2020/21 via the end-of-season qualification tournament.
Who would claim the five places in Championship 4 - and which three clubs would drop out in phase 2? No one was any wiser after the opening match in which Caledonia Storm beat leaders Chester 8-6 and, if only briefly, leapt from seventh to second place. The match was settled in the third period when the Scots scored three times without reply through Callum Malcolm, Adam Heywood and Callum MacGregor to build an 8-4 lead.
Leeds then improved their chances of a top five slot by defeating Invicta Marlins 14-7, including a seven-goal haul by Quinn Walker. Goals by Nick Daly, Corran Bradley, 15-year-old Ethan Carpenter, Devrim Sacmacioglu and Arshia Keyghobadi took Sheffield Dolphins from 10-8 down to edge out Watford 13-12.
In another key clash, Newport beat Chelmsford 14-7, with Chris Taylor (6) and James Farror (4) leading the scorers. Photo (Trevor Hyde): James Farror.