Eastern Counties face the prospect of relegation from the Bill Beaumont Cup county championship division one following their 36-10 defeat by Lancashire at Fylde.
Counties take on Yorkshire in the northern group wooden spoon match at Grange Road, Cambridge on Saturday (3pm), and anything less than victory will see them making an immediate return to division two.
Counties, who had Bury St Edmunds players Joe Reid and Josh Walker in action at Fylde, are bottom of the four-team group following defeats in their opening two matches – they were beaten 29-11 by Cheshire at Chester in their first game.
Yorkshire have lost both of their group games – going down 29-7 to Cheshire and 40-27 to Lancashire – and also have no points.
But crucially they have a better points difference, and simply need to avoid defeat to stay up. Counties are on minus 44, Yorkshire on minus 35.
Eastern Counties chairman John Phoenix, appealing for support from clubs at Saturday’s game, said: “The management team want to stay in this league.
“The last two games have been a great learning curve, and this level of rugby is something we want to continue to try and deliver for our senior team.”
Against Lancashire Counties were 19-0 down before scrum-half Mike Gillick (Cambridge) dodged through on the blind side to score.
Counties were 31-5 down at the interval, Lancashire scoring five tries, but in an improved second half performance, left-wing Lawrence Hutchinson (Cambridge) evaded a last-ditch tackle to go over in the corner to make it 31-10.
Counties were left disappointed by their poor first half, which saw opportunities wasted, and poor discipline.
Both John Wedlock (Beccles) and Tom Ransom (Shelford) had time in the sin bin.
Eastern Counties: David Langley (Cambridge), Patrick Calvert (Cambridge University), James Armitage (Shelford), George Bretag-Norris (Cambridge), Red Newberry (Shelford, captain), Tom Ransom (Shelford), John Wedlock (Beccles), Mike Gillick (Cambridge), Joe Tarrant (Ampthill), Lawrence
Hutchinson (Cambridge), Matthew Smith (Colchester), Albert Portsmouth (Cambridge), Simon Hrbek (Shelford), Joe Reid (Bury St Edmunds), Josh
Walker (Bury St Edmunds), Andrew Hutchison (Shelford), Aki Lea (Shelford), Nico Defoe (Cambridge), Sam Redmayne (Shelford).