Tom Little’s review of the rest of last weekend’s National League One action
Birmingham Moseley 34(5) 19(0) Rosslyn Park attendance 900
Bishop’s Stortford 27(1) 33(5) Cambridge 1152
Blackheath 28(4) 23(1) Old Elthamians 1650
Coventry Rugby 36(1) 46(5) Darlington Mowden Park highest 1938
Esher 42(5) 28(1) Caldy 500
Fylde 33(1) 81(5) Loughborough Students 550
Hull Ionians 16(0) 42(5) Ampthill & District 402
Old Albanian 21(1) 24(4) Plymouth Albion lowest 375
THE penultimate week saw Darlington Mowden Park confirmed their highest-ever finish in NL1 in second place, making them favourites for promotion next season. The second relegation place was finally taken by Old Albanian, with the third spot lying between Hull Ionians, Loughborough Students and Rosslyn Park.
Despite a brave rear-guard action over the past few months, Old Albanian are relegated after their narrow home loss to Plymouth Albion. A good first half saw three OA tries before an Albion fightback just before the interval. The second period was largely controlled by Albion with OA unable to get the required win. Albion stay in fourth place with 2 games still in hand.
After holding a narrow half-time lead, Hull Ionians were blown away in the second half by visitors Ampthill & District. The win was required to give Ionians any real hope of avoiding relegation, but now they have to go to Coventry not only requiring a win but hoping their two rivals lose, including their catch-up fixtures.
Loughborough Students virtually ensured their status with an overwhelming 12-try demolition of bottom side Fylde. The hosts never gave up and even obtained their own try bonus point, but Students were a class apart. The win moves LS out of the relegation zone, two points ahead of Hull Ionians and still with a game in hand.
Rosslyn Park are now on the same points as Loughborough Students, also with a game in hand, despite losing at Birmingham Moseley. A close first half saw the home side take the lead and bank a try bonus point by the start of the second half. Park fought back, but Moseley held out for the win which keeps them in seventh place but now just one point from sixth.
Both Esher and Caldy are safe from relegation with the former taking a try bonus point win in their game in Surrey. Caldy led at half-time, but Esher hit back strongly in the second period to take the game. Credit to Caldy for obtaining their own try bonus point. The win moves Esher up to ninth place, one point ahead of Caldy who are now tenth.
Cambridge also needed a win to confirm their NL1 status and obtained it in their local derby at Bishop’s Stortford before a four-figure crowd. BS led 14-12 at half-time, but made too many errors and let in Cambridge for a deserved win. The losing bonus point was enough to ensure a top half finish for BS in their first season in NL1.
Another four-figure crowd turned out for the derby between hosts Blackheath and Old Elthamians. The home pack was on fire from the outset, setting up three early tries, and although a Dom Lespierre brace gave OE a chance, three penalties sealed it for Blackheath who remain in fifth place. Old Elthamians are sixth, but only one point ahead of Moseley.