Tom Little’s review of the rest of last weekend’s National League One action
Ampthill & District 29 24 Esher attendance 318
Blaydon 30 24 Fylde lowest 180
Cambridge 32 54 Hartpury College 430
Darlington Mowden Park 7 15 Birmingham Moseley highest 1079
Hull Ionians 21 40 Coventry Rugby 312
Old Albanian 49 15 Macclesfield 320
Plymouth Albion 53 15 Loughborough Students 1042
Rosslyn Park 28 3 Blackheath 860
Week nine saw leaders Hartpury College extend their 100% record, while third-placed Blackheath suffered a heavy defeat at Rosslyn Park. However, it was all smiles in the north east as Blaydon broke their duck by beating Fylde, taking them off the bottom of the table.
As expected, Hartpury College came up with a bonus point victory at Cambridge, although at 22-13 at half-time it was a close thing with the hosts’ open running style proving they could score tries. For the second week running, it was Hartpury fly-half Matt Protheroe who proved the catalyst and difference between the two sides with his game management and kicking from hand. Seven tries were scored by College, but praise to the home side for getting their own try bonus point. This win takes Hartpury eight points clear of Birmingham Moseley.
In a somewhat scrappy game Birmingham Moseley travelled to the north east to face Darlington Mowden Park and emerged narrow victors but were unable to gain a bonus point. The lowest scoring game of the week was played in front of the largest crowd of the day, and saw the power of the Moseley pack and scrum just edging the contest. Despite a brave effort by Park they were unable to gain even a losing bonus point.
The London derby at The Rock saw Rosslyn Park continue to find form as they dominated possession over a lacklustre Blackheath. The home side was always in control, especially among the forwards as they moved into a 14-0 half-time lead. Two further tries sealed it for Park, but it was not enough to give them the try bonus. The win moves Rosslyn Park within one win of the top half of the table but leaves Blackheath now 12 points behind Hartpury.
Fourth-placed Plymouth Albion maintained their 100% home record with another bonus point win over Loughborough Students. Before their largest gate of the season, Albion overwhelmed a Students side who recently have started to find some form. The open running style of the hosts led to eight tries with winger Robin Wedlake scoring a hat-trick in just 24 minutes. This result puts Albion within one win of Blackheath but drops the Students down to seventh place.
It was a closely fought game at Ampthill & District who overcame doughty opponent in Esher. In fact Esher took an early 10-0 lead before a home fightback saw Ampthill in front by half-time, 14-10. Esher took the lead again in the second half and it needed a late Ben Gulliver try to give the home side the bonus point win, taking them up to fifth and leaving Esher in ninth place.
Blaydon, in front of the smallest crowd of the day, finally broke their losing run with a win over Fylde. Not for the first time it was the home pack that provided the impetus to gain the bonus point win, and although Fylde themselves earned two bonus points with two late tries, the home side well deserved their first win which lifts them off the bottom of the table for the first time this season, and leaves Fylde back in tenth place after another bad away day.
Old Albanian recorded a comprehensive bonus point home win over Macclesfield. With half-backs Ben Palmer and Morgan Thomson in fine form behind a dominant pack, OAs ran in seven tries as Macclesfield were starved of possession. This win takes OAs up five places to eighth but drops Macclesfield into bottom place, now nine points from safety.