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Led by 20 points from Pat Pellegrini Coventry Rugby moved to within four points of table-topping Ealing through a 26-52 success at Nottingham.

In addition to completing a seasonal double over their old East Midlands rivals this result extends Cov’s winning streak to six games with three rounds of action remaining.

Playing into a strong wind, Cov’s pack imposed an iron grip on a first half in which their lineout delivered a 100 per cent return. Their front row also won a sequence of scrum penalties which ultimately led to the award of a penalty try and Nottingham’s Kai Owen being shown a yellow card.

Cov scored three other first-half tries to take a 7-26 advantage into a second spell during which Nottingham managed to register a bonus point but also concede four further touchdowns to a blue-and-white outfit for whom replacement back-rower Chester Owen crossed twice.

The home side started brightly and made good use of the wind to test Cov’s back three.

Morgan Bunting’s chip and a neat pass almost released centre Marcus Ramage only for the visitors’ cover to swallow him up.

A period of Cov pressure then ended with scrum-half Will Yarnell being shown a yellow card for an infringement on his own line.

And Alex Rae’s team duly used their numerical advantage to open the scoring  through winger Jimmy Martin who twisted to the corner following a long Tom Hitchcock pass.

Pellegrini’s chip ahead beat Will Wand to the dead ball line which left the visitors with a slender five-point advantage at the end of the first quarter.

However with their scrum increasingly turning the screw Pellegrini soon went over for a second Cov try at the end of a long spell of pressure.

Nottingham quickly struck back through Bunting whose neat diagonal grubber created an opportunity which he also finished in support of Yarnell’s inside pass.

But Cov managed two more scores before the break both of which owed everything to forward power.

A dislocated finger had brought a premature end to Suva Ma’asi’s 50th Coventry appearance so it was club captain Jordon Poole who dotted down a well-organised lineout drive for their third try.

And after the blue-and-whites twice thwarted Nottingham’s attempts to reply in kind, Cov won two scrum penalties then – following a double substitution in the home front row – a penalty try which also saw the newly-arrived Owen making a hasty return to the bench.

Chester Owen scored his second Coventry try at Nottingham (credit: John Coles)

With the bonus point in the bag concentration appeared to drift a little during a third quarter during which the hosts outscored Rae’s team by three tries to two.

Impressive full back Ellis Mee claimed two of these while the pacy David Williams plucked out an interception on his own 22 and showed everyone a clean pair of heels while racing to the Cov posts.

Between these Owen opened his blue-and-white account with a memorable solo effort which saw him step two defenders and power over from 45 metres before applying a simple finish in support of Martin’s break.

At 26-38 Nottingham had a glimmer of hope until the door was firmly shut by replacement scrum-half Toby Venner’s fourth try in two games.

Fittingly it was Tongan international no.10 Pellegrini who had the last word when he ran in an interception from halfway as the Archers sought to continue their expansive approach.