NATIONAL LEAGUE ONE WEEK 2 ROUND-UP
by Tom Little
Birmingham Moseley 19 14 Coventry Rugby attendance 1232
Blackheath 13 6 Esher 527
Darlington Mowden Park 15 14 Blaydon 940
Hartpury College 37 14 Plymouth Albion 372
Loughborough Students 13 6 Hull Ionians 123
Macclesfield 44 22 Fylde 300
Old Albanian 17 18 Ampthill & District 325
Rosslyn Park 19 22 Cambridge 758
Week two saw close finishes to six of the eight games with all but two of the beaten sides gaining a losing bonus point. The only side still with a 100% record is Hartpury College, while three sides have yet to record a victory, including Rosslyn Park.
Leaders Hartpury again scored more than 30 points in another home victory, this time over Plymouth Albion. Two tries apiece by half-time suggested a close contest, but the home side ran away with it in the second half, scoring three unanswered tries. Once again fly-half Adam Hastings was the star, running the game.
The renewal of hostilities after seven seasons between Birmingham Moseley and Coventry Rugby lived up to expectations. The Coventry pack took control but were unable to break down a stubborn home defence, while a disallowed try and seemingly unpunished home scrum offences did not help Coventry’s cause.
An even more closely-fought derby took place at Old Albanian where Ampthill & District kept their unbeaten record thanks to a last-minute penalty. Not for the first time at St Albans, the spectacle was somewhat spoilt by driving rain. Despite the Ampthill pack having a slight edge, they were punished by Chris May’s goalkicking until that late penalty from Joe Tarrant saw them though.
Macclesfield maintained their good start to the season with an impressive bonus point home win over still winless Fylde. An experienced pack led by No.8 Ryan Parkinson set the scene, giving the Blues a 27-10 half-time lead. The second half saw more of the same until a late try surge by Fylde put a gloss on the final score. Already Macclesfield have shown they are going to be a force, especially in their forwards.
Loughborough Students put their display at Coventry behind them as they managed a close win over visitors Hull Ionians. Poor conditions didn’t help either side, but great home defence restricted Ionians to two Isaac Green penalties as the Students gained their first win of the season.
In arguably the surprise of the day saw Rosslyn Park lose at home to newly promoted Cambridge. Two early tries gave the visitors an ideal start and a half-time lead before a Park fight back saw them take control. However, as we have already seen this season, Cambridge never gave up and a late try brought the scores equal before a last-minute drop goal by Dan Lewis sealed the win. Rosslyn Park, who had a similar poor start to last season, still have enough quality to fight back from this.
Blackheath put their poor display at Hartpury behind them in a close encounter with Esher. Good defence from both sides restricted the scoring to just one try by the home side and two penalties apiece. In the end the slight edge Blackheath’s back row had gave them the win.
The north east derby between Darlington Mowden Park and Blaydon involved two sides struggling to find some form. A good start by Blaydon helped by two Andrew Baggett penalties saw them lead 14-0 into the second half, but going into the final quarter the home side finally got their act together with former Coventry player Caolan Ryan prominent with his breaks ,try and last-minute penalty snatched the win.