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Tom Little’s review of the rest of last weekend’s National League One action

 Ampthill & District   (5)         45       5      (0)   Esher                        attendance         295

Birmingham Moseley   (0)     17     31      (5)   Darlington Mowden Park                   714

Caldy                                (1)     16     20      (5)   Cambridge                                            769

Coventry Rugby              (5)      37     10     (0)   Blackheath                     highest        1455

Hull Ionians                       (1)     26     36     (5)   Old Albanian                  lowest           157

Old Elthamians                  (5)    36      20    (0)    Loughborough Students                     451

Plymouth Albion                (5)    68      15    (0)    Fylde                                                      996

Rosslyn Park                        (2)    24      31    (5)    Bishops Stortford                                802


WHAT started off as a suggested quirk of the early fixtures is now looking more of a trend with a fourth consecutive week  when only 50 per cent of the home teams won. This week saw all winning sides obtain the try bonus, with DMP retaining their 100% record, whilst a defensive masterclass by Coventry brought about the first defeat of Blackheath.

At the bottom of the league there was a first win for Old Albanian at the expense of Hull Ionians, who at least gained their first point of the season, leaving Fylde the only side still without a match point.

Darlington Mowden Park travelled to Birmingham Moseley and came away with a bonus point victory to keep their 100% record. Yet the home side led 14-3 at half-time and 17-3 just after the break, thanks largely to James Dixon’s four penalties, before DMP fly-half Warren Seals started to take control, allowing the visitors to run in four tries to keep them at the top of the league. The lack of strength of depth for Moseley is now coming through.

As if DMP or Coventry needed any more warning about the chasing pack, then third-placed Plymouth Albion gave them due notice with a ten-try mauling of Fylde. The lack of experience in the visiting side saw them capitulate in the second half which brought seven tries for Albion with new recruit Dan Mugford in imperious form, both with his goal-kicking and game control.

Rosslyn’s Park poor start to the season continued with somewhat of a surprise home loss to Bishop’s Stortford, although they did gain two bonus points. Newcomers BS have surprised many with their start. It was a close affair with the lead changing hands several times. A brace of tries from prop Will Rogers put the visitors in control as they held out for a win which takes them up to fourth place but drops Park down to 11th.

Ampthill & District are firmly back on track after a stuttering start to the season, recording a comprehensive win over Esher. It was an open game, but Ampthill had the defensive prowess to halt Esher and had their own impressive finishing edge. This resulted in a hat-trick of tries from new recruit, lock Syd Blackmore. The win takes Ampthill up to sixth.

Two wins in two weeks have taken Old Elthamians into the top half of the table. A narrow 12-10 half-time lead over visitors Loughborough Students was transformed  by OE in the second half as the Students faded and the home side took control in the final quarter with their pack giving the backs plenty of quick ball.

Caldy suffered something if a surprise home loss to Cambridge, who have had a mixed start to the season. The impressive home pack, helped by the goal-kicking of Ben Jones, gave Caldy an early lead, but with them seemingly on top  a late turnover gave Cambridge a try followed by a further one with two minutes to go to give Cambridge an unlikely victory.

Hull Ionians and visitors Old Albanian were both looking for their first win of the season. OA had shown great spirit in their previous two games and their control grew as an error-strewn game progressed. A brace of tries from Craig Dowsett and Eliot Obatoyinbo,  took OA clear in the second half, giving them a bonus point win, but Ionians at least gained their own try bonus for their first point of the season.