Tom Little’s review of the rest of last weekend’s National League One action
Ampthill & District 15(1) 17(4) Darlington Mowden Park attendance 313
Birmingham Moseley 28(2) 32(5) Old Elthamians 752
Bishop’s Stortford 70(5) 24(0) Fylde 571
Blackheath 23(5) 12(0) Cambridge 827
Coventry Rugby 32(5) 27(2) Rosslyn Park highest 2088
Esher 23(1) 25(4) Loughborough Students 450
Hull Ionians 33(5) 14(0) Plymouth Albion lowest 275
Old Albanian 43(5) 25(0) Caldy 320
ROUND 27 produced some close and surprising results with leaders Coventry just holding on to their unbeaten home record as opponents Rosslyn Park secured two points to help their survival chances. Wins for relegation candidates Old Albanian, Loughborough Students and Hull Ionians sucks another four sides into the relegation mix.
At Ampthill & District, second-placed Darlington Mowden Park scrambled a win in a close game which is the norm for meetings between these sides. It was not without controversy with two late penalty tries awarded, one to the home side and then the winning one to DMP. Despite the home scrum getting on top in the second period, DMP managed to hang in and force the last-minute win. The result leaves both clear in their respective second and third places.
Cambridge, requiring a win to be certain of NL1 survival, got off to a good start with four unanswered penalties at Blackheath. No further scores were added by the visitors, however, as Blackheath took control with four tries to seal a bonus point win which takes them up one to fourth place while Cambridge, in ninth, still need one more elusive win.
Possibly the surprise of the day saw 13th-placed Hull Ionians manage a bonus point home victory over Plymouth Albion. Wanting the win more, Ionians were helped by a brace of tries from centre Lewis Minikin and were able to consolidate their lead in the second period, giving them a chance to survive in NL1. Albion drop down to fifth place, and the win takes Ionians four points ahead of Loughborough Students.
A tremendous start saw visitors Old Elthamians get the try bonus point before half-time at Birmingham Moseley. However, the home pack started to take charge in the second period as Moseley got to within one score. OEs managed to hold on, but three second-half tries gave Moseley two bonus points which, nevertheless, were not enough to stop them dropping one place to eighth. The win keeps OEs in sixth spot.
It was somewhat of a massacre at Bishop’s Stortford who ran up 70 points against relegated Fylde. An even start saw the teams locked at 12-apiece before the floodgates opened with BS gaining their try bonus point before half-time. The win moves the home side up to a creditable seventh place.
Old Albanian claimed their fourth win in five games with a bonus victory over visiting Caldy. A heavily augmented home side were too strong in all facets and the win moves them to within seven points of safety. An escape route which could go down to the last game of the season.
Another augmented side, Loughborough Students went to Esher and came away with a close win after trailing 20-17 at half-time. Home errors let in Students for the win, meaning they are now four points behind Hull Ionians with a game in hand. Esher, in 12th place, are still in trouble and need at least another win.