There were crunch games this weekend in men's Divisions 3 and 4 at venues nearly 200 miles apart - Haberdashers and East Manchester. Birmingham's success retained a 100 per cent record from five matches - and guaranteed a top two position, earning a right to take part in the end-of-season qualification tournament, potentially involving the two bottom clubs in Division 3.
Bridgefield will be the other Division 4 team set for qualification. They made sure of making progress with a comfortable 20-11 victory over the British Army at East Manchester.
Against Watford, Birmingham were unable to shrug off the challenge of determined opponents until the last two minutes. Watford pulled level for the first time at 9-9 at the end of the third quarter and, briefly, were 10-9 up when Danny Davis scored from a man-up early in the fourth. The game progressed to 12-12 before Jason Culloo edged the Midlanders ahead with 1.44 to go. Watford goalkeeper Dan Moose then joined a Watford attack in a desperate attempt to fashion an equaliser - only for the move to break down, allowing Culloo to net again with 42 seconds left.
In Division 3, late goals by Alex Hall and Quinn Walker earned Castleford a 10-10 draw with Manchester Hawks. Sedgefield and Worthing are clear leaders of the division after winning again. Ben Stephenson and John Pratt scored eight each as Sedgefield overwhelmed Rotherham Metro 25-7 while Matt Smith netted four for Worthing, who edged out Cheltenham Spartans 12-10.
Photo (Trevor Hyde): Avondale defenders Stef Pecelj (Blue 3) and Matt Chambers attempt to block a shot by Newport's Chris Taylor at Haberdashers. Avondale won 18-7.