Tom Little’s review of last weekend’s National League One action
Bishop’s Stortford 15 (4) 5 (0) Blackheath attendance Highest 749
Old Elthamians 6 (0) 18 (4) Ampthill & District Lowest 186
Cambridge 29 (5) 19 (0) Hull Ionians 313
Darlington Mowden Park 18 (4) 16 (1) Esher 622
Plymouth Albion postponed Loughborough Students
A WEEKEND of catch-up fixtures saw another postponement of Plymouth Albion’s home game against Loughborough Students, which worked in the latter’s favour as their nearest rivals in the scrap to escape relegation, Hull Ionians lost at Cambridge with no bonus point.
Second-placed Darlington Mowden Park found it difficult against visiting Esher, who belied their poor away form by going into an early 13-0 lead. Park are a side who keep plugging away and they had moved two points ahead by half-time. No quarter was given in the second period as Esher first went back into the lead with five minutes to go through a penalty but then gave one back to allow Park to win with the last kick of the game.
Ampthill & District overcame atrocious conditions at Old Elthamians to maintain their hold on third place. The home side were not helped by three injuries in the first period and went 13-3 down by half-time. As conditions got worse the scoring came to a virtual standstill, poor discipline letting the home side down as Ampthill held out for the win.
Atrocious conditions were also the order of the day at Bishop’s Stortford who came through a close battle in the first half to defeat fifth-placed Blackheath. Despite Blackheath’s heavier pack the home side managed to nil their opponents in the second half for a deserved their victory. The win keeps BS in eighth place but now only one win away from sixth.
Hull Ionians travelled to Cambridge and left without a point. The pressure was on the visitors as they realised that the postponement of the Loughborough Students game gave them the opportunity to move at least seven points clear of their relegation rivals. It was not to be as they slumped to a 17-0 half-time deficit, finding it difficult to cope with the Cambridge back row. Two second-half tries gave them hope, but by then Cambridge had gained their try bonus point. The loss leaves Ionians likely favourites for the final relegation place, while Cambridge are now virtually safe.