Tom Little’s review of the rest of last weekend’s National League One action
Ampthill & District 33 28 Plymouth Albion attendance 297
Birmingham Moseley 14 13 Cambridge 571
Blackheath 36 5 Fylde 293
Coventry Rugby 48 13 Old Elthamians highest 1473
Esher 17 28 Bishops Stortford 310
Hull Ionians 29 24 Caldy 408
Old Albanian 36 19 Loughborough Students 300
Rosslyn Park 38 26 Darlington Mowden Park lowest 278
WEEK 27 saw another win for leaders Coventry Rugby over Old Elthamians which increased their advantage to 30 points as both their nearest challengers lost. Effectively, this means Coventry are now only five points away from being champions. At the bottom of the table, wins for Old Albanian and Hull Ionians have brought no less than five teams into the relegation mix, trying to avoid the two remaining spots with Fylde’s demotion confirmed .
Second-placed Darlington Mowden Park travelled to struggling Rosslyn Park and, although coming away with a try bonus point, were beaten. At last Rosslyn Park found some form and raced into a healthy 24-7 half-time lead. DMP came back out a different side and two quick tries and followed by a third gave them the lead, but all credit to the home side who regained the lead late. The win takes Rosslyn Park 13 points above the relegation zone, whilst DMP are now 30 points behind the leaders.
The other remaining contender for the title, Plymouth Albion also lost on their travels at Ampthill & District. A close and exciting contest saw the home side with a narrow 21-14 half-time lead, thanks largely to three tries stemming from Albion penalties. A better Albion second half saw them take the lead, but Ampthill never gave up and sealed victory with a last-minute try. The two bonus points were not enough to stop Albion dropping to fourth place, 35 points behind Coventry, whist Ampthill go into third spot but are unable to catch Coventry.
Fylde’s loss at Blackheath confirmed that they are the first side to be relegated. A tremendous home start saw them race into the bonus point position before half-time. However, a dogged second half response by Fylde restricted the final margin – small comfort indeed. The win keeps Blackheath in fifth spot and now only one win from third place.
Another win for Birmingham Moseley, at home to Cambridge, saw them step up one place to sixth. In a scrappy game not helped by the weather, Moseley held a narrow half-time lead of 7-3. Cambridge then took the lead before a late home srge saw them squeeze the win. Unfortunately for Cambridge, this loss drops them too close to the relegation zone for comfort as they are now only eight points above it.
Another side dragged into the danger zone is Esher, who were beaten at home by Bishop’s Stortford. The visitors settled well and were 11-0 up at half-time. Although Esher did fight back, BS did enough in the second period to get the win and deny Esher even a losing bonus point. This loss leaves Esher on the same number of points as Cambridge, eight above the relegation zone.
Hull Ionians secured an important win at home to Caldy which took them out of the relegation places. In a close game throughout, the home side were able to get a crucial try bonus which moves them up to 13th spot and now five points from danger.
A relegation dog fight went the way of home side Old Albanian over fellow strugglers Loughborough Students. Students showed good form as they raced into a 19-0 half-time lead, but fitness and experience then showed in the second period as OA scored 34 unanswered points. Although remaining in 15th spot, OA moved within ten points of safety and still in with a chance. Students drop to 14th but only fve points from safety.