Brightlingsea Regent and Maldon & Tiptree continue the race for the Ryman North title

It's a nail-biting time for promotion-chasing Brightlingsea Regent. Picture: STEVE ARGENT

It's a nail-biting time for promotion-chasing Brightlingsea Regent. Picture: STEVE ARGENT - Credit: Archant

The race for the Ryman North title is really hotting up, with Brightlingsea Regent, Maldon & Tiptree, AFC Hornchurch and Thurrock all in contention.

Regent remain in pole position, and they have a chance to consolidate their top billing when they play host to mid-table Bury Town tomorrow afternoon.

Second-placed Maldon & Tiptree also enjoy home advantage, against struggling Brentwood Town tomorrow, while outsiders Thurrock are on the road at relegation-threatened Soham Town Rangers. Hornchurch are at home to Wroxham.

It promises to be another big occasion for James Webster’s Brightlingsea team, who are currently six points clear of the Jammers at the top, with just seven games remaining.

The R’s have only lost once in 2017, a 1-0 home defeat to promotion rivals Thurrock a fortnight ago. Otherwise, it’s been full steam ahead with 13 victories in the last 16 games, with a couple of draws thrown in for good measure.

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Tomorrow’s visitors Bury have slipped out of the play-off reckoning in recent months, although Ben Chenery’s men have taken seven points out of 12 in their last four games.

Bury’s last two outings have yielded a 2-2 draw at Ware, and a 2-1 home win over Tilbury last Saturday, while the previous weekend they did Brightlingsea a huge favour by rallying to beat Maldon & Tiptree 3-2 at Ram Meadow. That win ended a miserable run of six defeats on the spin for the West Suffolk club.

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The Jammers, the long-term Ryman North leaders, might end up having to make do with a play-off berth, although they will fancy their chances against 20th-placed Brentwood Town tomorrow. Brentwood are just four points clear of the drop zone.

Fourth-placed Thurrock, just behind Hornchurch, are 12 points adrift of Brightlingsea, although they do have one game in hand. They take on a Soham side who are in the bottom three.

Elsewhere, Heybridge Swifts, six points clear of the relegation zone, are away against Romford, who play their home games at Ship Lane, Thurrock.

The Swifts could have a big say in the promotion race this Tuesday, when they are back at Ship Lane to take on Thurrock in the hosts’ game in hand.

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