Tom Little’s review of the rest of last weekend’s National League One action
Caldy 21 0 Old Albanian attendance 312
Cambridge 16 27 Blackheath 417
Darlington Mowden Park 21 15 Ampthill & District 945
Fylde 29 22 Bishop’s Stortford 571
Loughborough Students 49 38 Esher lowest 249
Old Elthamians 47 17 Birmingham Moseley 341
Plymouth Albion 29 3 Hull Ionians highest 956
Rosslyn Park 13 43 Coventry Rugby 840
ROUND 13 saw unbeaten Coventry Rugby increase their lead at the top to 12 points, but their defeat of Rosslyn Park dropped Park into the final relegation spot for the first time this season. There was an excellent home win for bottom side Fylde over high-flying Bishop’s Stortford. It is getting tighter in the bottom half of the league with no less than five other teams withn seven points above the danger zone.
As expected, it was a close-run affair at Darlington Mowden Park where the north-easterners overcame a doughty Ampthill & District. Both defences were on top with the slight difference the home side being able to take its chances, especially the brace of tries from Falcons winger Adam Radwan which included a last-minute score to give Park the win, keeping them in second place. The defeat for Ampthill drops them down one to fourth.
Plymouth Albion put behind them last week’s defeat at Coventry to cruise to a home bonus point win over Hull Ionians. Albion were always in control with their pack which gave them the required possession for the high tempo game they wanted, and coupled with a good defensive display it saw them score three first-half tries allowing their visitors very little ball. The win takes Albion back to third place, 16 points behind Coventry, but drops Ionians to 12th place and now only three points above the drop zone.
After a close first half at Cambridge, a late try gave visitors Blackheath a nine-point cushion to take into the break, and despite having plenty of possession in the second period the hosts found it difficult to break down a stubborn defence. A final quarter try sealed it for Blackheath, the win keeping them in fifth spot, but the loss drops Cambridge down two to tenth and, more importantly, only six points from the danger zone.
Arguably the biggest surprise of the day saw bottom club Fylde get a home bonus point win over visitors Bishop’s Stortford. A great home start saw them score three tries before they were pegged back just before half-time by a penalty try. A better second-half display saw BS fight back to level the scores before a fine piece of skill from replacement back, former league player Luke Fowden for a late try gave Fylde the crucial win. BS remain in sixth spot and Fylde, whilst still at the bottom, are now only ten points from safety.
A scrappy first half between Old Elthamians and visitors Birmingham Moseley saw the home side leading 12-5 with no hint of what was to happen in the second period. The well-coached OEs moved up a gear, scoring five further tries as Moseley were overwhelmed despite a couple of consolation tries. Moseley remain in seventh spot, now only two points ahead of their hosts who jump one place to eighth.
A game of 11 tries and apparently little evidence of defence saw visitors Esher get their try bonus on 40 minutes at Loughborough Students, who then came from 31-20 behind at half-time to finish with six tries in total and a significant win which takes LS out of the relegation zone, three points ahead of Rosslyn Park who take over from them in 14th place. Strangely enough, the try bonus for Esher was enough to move them up a place to ninth.
Caldy finally get a win at home over a struggling Old Albanian side. On a heavy pitch Caldy dominated proceedings as they raced into an early 14-point lead, but despite remaining in total control, especially in the scrum, they were unable to take full advantage in a poor second half as the bonus point was missed. The win moves Caldy up two to 11th, still only four points from danger, whilst another loss for OA keeps them in 15th place and eight points from safety.