Tom Little’s review of the rest of last weekend’s National League One action
Blackheath 20 12 Birmingham Moseley attendance 586
Bishop’s Stortford 10 36 Coventry Rugby 420
Caldy 32 24 Old Elthamians lowest 277
Cambridge 16 14 Plymouth Albion 476
Darlington Mowden Park 52 24 Old Albanian highest 855
Esher 38 27 Hull Ionians 500
Fylde 5 26 Ampthill & District 413
Loughborough Students 37 15 Rosslyn Park 278
ROUND 20 produced try bonus point wins for the top three and a loss for fourth-placed Plymouth Albion which probably puts them out of the promotion race. Coventry maintained their 15-point advantage over Darlington Mowden Park. There were defeats for the bottom three, and a win for Loughborough Students which puts them four points clear of the relegation zone.
It was all over by half-time as Darlington Mowden Park eased to a 33-5 lead, with five tries, against relegation-threatened Old Albanian. OA had no early answer to the finishing of the home side, although once they had stirred themselves they secured their own try bonus point in the second half. They are now 10 points from safety.
Ampthill & District maintained third place with a regulation win at Fylde and are now four points behind DMP, albeit having played two games more. A lack of discipline in the first period restricted the home side, and Ampthill took full advantage with three tries before easing to the try bonus point early in the second half. A late rally from Fylde was too late, the loss putting them 20 points from safety.
The result of the day saw Plymouth Albion lose ground in the promotion race as they were defeated away at Cambridge. A half-time lead for Albion was soon eradicated by the home side as the wily Darren Fox led his pack to pressurise Albion to give away penalties, and in the end it was two penalties and a drop goal which sealed the home win.
Blackheath took advantage of Albion’s loss to move within two points of them following a hard-fought home win over Birmingham Moseley. Blackheath handled the conditions better than Moseley as they eased into an 8-0 half-time lead. The home side went further ahead before a late Moseley try gave something of a gloss to the score.
There were more poor conditions at Caldy where the home side ran out winners against a competitive Old Elthamians side. OEs surged into a 21-12 half-time lead thanks to three tries before a second half fightback, led by the pack, saw Caldy earn the try bonus point and win. The win moves Caldy up two to ninth place.
Needing to win, Loughborough Students found themselves 15-13 down at half-time to visitors Rosslyn Park, but it was a different story in the second period as the home side took control with three further tries. Crucially for Students, the win moves them four points clear of the relegation places.
It was a high-scoring encounter at Esher where the home side duly defeated 14th-placed Hull Ionians. With the try bonus point earned before half-time, Esher then found that the visitors were not giving up without a fight as they themselves earned a crucial try bonus. Too little and too late for the win however, and the loss leaves Ionians for points below the safety cut-off.