Tom Little’s review of the rest of last weekend’s National League One action
Ampthill & District 25 3 Loughborough Students 303
Blaydon postponed Birmingham Moseley
Cambridge 20 25 Darlington Mowden Park 380
Coventry Rugby 39 3 Blackheath highest 1178
Fylde 31 57 Hartpury College 765
Hull Ionians postponed Macclesfield
Plymouth Albion 29 7 Esher 1107
Rosslyn Park 33 17 Old Albanian lowest 150
Week 18 saw the six games played all end in bonus point wins with sixth and seventh-placed, Coventry and Rosslyn Park now within one win of Blackheath in fifth. None of the bottom three sides were able to play, while losses for Esher and Fylde did little to ease their positions.
Leaders Hartpury College duly despatched Fylde, but not before a second half fightback by the home side who at one point got the score back to 31-38. College then stepped up a gear with three late tries to seal the win. Fylde matched their illustrious opponents up front but could not live with the finishing and speed of Hartpury’s backs, led by scrum-half Ben Vellacott with four tries.
Plymouth Albion took advantage of Blackheath’s loss and the postponement of the Moseley game to move up to second place with a hard-fought bonus point home win over Esher. A closer first half than expected saw Albion with a narrow 8-7 lead, but another scrum-half, Cameron Setter proved the difference with a brace of tries as Albion raised the pace in the second half. Although Esher remain five points above the relegation zone they, have now played one more game than the bottom three.
Ampthill & District moved up two places to third following an easier than expected home victory over Loughborough Students. Always on top, Ampthill took some time to break a resolute Students defence, but eventually the Students cracked, giving the home side the bonus point win.
Rosslyn Park secured another bonus point victory, this time at home against Old Albanian. After a close first half, Park took control with three last-quarter tries, helped by a brace from hooker Charles Piper, which effectively ended any OA comeback. A win that keeps Park within two points of Coventry.
The other game saw a lack of goal-kicking prowess but plenty of tries as Cambridge lost narrowly at home to in-form Darlington Mowden Park who are now a on a rich winning streak. Trailing at half-time, DMP took control in the second half led by a brace of tries from flanker Simon Uzowke. Cambridge were unable to convert any of their their four tries, which in the end proved the difference.
The Blaydon – Birmingham Moseley match was postponed on Friday night, but the Hull Ionians – Macclesfield game was called off not long before kick-off on Saturday.