TALK of a title-decider in January is premature to say the least – but Chinnor know this weekend could prove vital to staying in the hunt.

A mouth-watering clash at home to leaders Cinderford on Saturday will be a fine advertisement for the fourth tier of English rugby.

But it will, all the more importantly, pave the way for how the remaining three months of the National League 2 South season could pan out.

A bonus-point victory for second-placed Chinnor, the only team to beat Cinderford this campaign, would see them go top.

But a defeat would leave the Thame-based side, at the most, nine points adrift with ten games to go.

With only one automatic promotion spot up for grabs, they would have to settle for a play-off against the National League 2 North runners-up.

Although a lot can change between now and April, the top two places look all but wrapped up, with Chinnor 17 points ahead of third-placed Redingensians.

For director of rugby Matt Williams, this weekend holds a lot of importance.

“This is a very big game, both teams know it,” he said.

“Do I think it will decide who wins the league? No.

“With ten games to go after this there will still be a lot of twists and turns, but I think it will go a long way towards who will win the league.

“If we lose this week, we’ll maybe be eight or nine points adrift of Cinderford.

“That will be a hard amount of points to catch up.”

Williams added: “The crazy thing is, we'd have been flying last season if we'd had this form.

“But there are two teams who are snapping at each others heels and it’s become attritional.

“If we want to win the league, we have to win this game.

“But the reality is, once the result takes care of itself, whichever way it goes, it’s then a cat-and-mouse ten games where a bonus-point or losing a match unexpectedly swings the balance.”

Chinnor had their 27-match unbeaten home record ended by London Irish Wild Geese at the start of the month.

But they have bounced back impressively with two bonus-point wins and head into this week’s clash at Kingsey Road in high spirits.

Chinnor are also driven by the disappointment of missing out on last season’s play-off by virtue of fewer victories after finishing level on points with Old Elthamians.

Captain Danny Barnes admits that is still something the club wants to put right.

He said: “We came agonisingly close last year to going up, but that’s the way it goes.

“Since June we’ve been working hard to be in the best possible position.

“Last year was so close and it’s made us even more hungry to go up.”