Tom Little’s review of the rest of last weekend’s National League One action
Birmingham Moseley P Plymouth Albion attendance
Bishops Stortford 43 12 Loughborough Students 502
Blackheath 29 17 Caldy 380
Coventry Rugby 63 14 Ampthill & District highest 1776
Esher 10 13 Cambridge 330
Fylde 10 13 Darlington Mowden Park 583
Hull Ionians P Rosslyn Park
Old Albanian 15 24 Old Elthamians lowest 152
SATURDAY saw a truncated fixture list due to the inclement weather as games at Birmingham Moseley and Hull Ionians were postponed. A comprehensive win by leaders Coventry Rugby against fourth-placed Ampthill & District saw their lead over Darlington Mowden Park increase to 13 points as the latter could only scramble a four-point win at Fylde. The only team to win from the bottom nine was Cambridge.
It was a tense affair for different reasons in the north west where bottom side Fylde almost pulled off a surprise win over Darlington MP. It took a last-minute try by the visitors to claw the victory after trailing for most of the game. A first-half try for Fylde saw them lead until the end of the third quarter before a DMP try brought Fylde’s lead down to 10-8 and then the last gasp drama which keeps DMP within sight of the leaders.
An impressive attacking first 26 minutes saw Blackheath obtain their try bonus point before a second-half fightback by visitors Caldy, helped by a flurry of home yellow cards, which almost saw them overhaul the hosts. Blackheath held out with the win taking them up two places to third whilst Caldy remain in 11th place but only four points ahead of the danger zone.
Bishop’s Stortford returned to form with a comprehensive win over Loughborough Students. The home side had their try bonus in the bag before half-time, the Students having no answer to their attacking flair and finishing. A more even second period still left BS easy winners and now four points awy from third place, while defeat keeps Loughborough only three points above the bottom three.
The game between Old Albanian and Old Elthamians resulted in a closer than expected victory for the visitors. A bright start by OA saw them score two early tries before OEs fought back, helped by a penalty try and then one from a driving maul. The second half was more one-sided as OEs took charge with another penalty try and penalty. The win moves OEs up one place to seventh but leaves OA back in 15th place and now eight points from safety.
It was a close affair at Esher, who lost narrowly to Cambridge, a symptom of both sides’ inconsistency this season. All the scoring was in the first half, two penalties from fly-half Dan Lewis proving the match-winner for Cambridge. Esher upped a gear in the second half, but the Cambridge defence held out for a result which moves Cambridge up one to ninth place, now one place and two points ahead of Esher.