Tom Little’s review of the rest of last weekend’s National League One action
Ampthill & District 25 51 Hartpury College attendance 374
Blaydon 17 7 Esher 120
Cambridge 23 23 Blackheath 592
Darlington Mowden Park 27 13 Loughborough Students 622
Hull Ionians 29 31 Fylde 167
Old Albanian 7 33 Birmingham Moseley 329
Plymouth Albion 33 24 Coventry Rugby 889
Rosslyn Park 59 28 Macclesfield 325
Week 22 saw most of the interest at the lower end of the table with the three bottom sides all picking up at least one point, but pride of place must go to Blaydon whose home win moves them out of the bottom two.
The expected close contest between Ampthill & District and leaders Hartpury College was somewhat negated when the home side shipped thhree tries when down to 13 men early in the second half In the end it was an easy win for Hartpury who now could be crowned champions after just a further two games. Credit to Ampthill for sticking at it and at least gaining a try bonus point.
Birmingham Moseley had an early try bonus at Old Albanian, going 28-0 up by half-time with impressive fly-half James Williams the catalyst with his goal-kicking and line control. This win brings Moseley to within one point of third-placed Ampthill, still with a game in hand.
Rosslyn Park had another fly-half to thank with Harry Leonard’s control and goal-kicking decisive as they cruised to a comprehensive win over bottom-placed Macclesfield. Park’s fine home form gave them the try bonus point by half-time, helped by the award of two penalty tries to their dominant pack. Macclesfield came back in the second period to earn their own try bonus, but it did nothing to ease their relegation fears. The win for Park takes them up to fifth place above Blackheath.
Not for the first time, conditions were atrocious conditions at Blaydon where the home side ground out a crucial victory over fellow strugglers Esher. In front of a minuscule crowd of 120, Esher led at half-time before Blaydon took charge with two second-half tries. This gave them the win and denied Esher even a losing bonus point. The win lifted Blaydon out of the relegation spot by two points and now only ten points behind Esher, who are still not safe.
Cambridge were host to Blackheath in an exciting game which saw a narrow home half-time lead soon overturned as Blackheath fought back to lead going into added time before being stunned by a home try to draw the game. Two points for each which dropped Blackheath down to sixth place.
A close first half ended 12-10 in favour of Darlington Mowden Park who eventually ran out winners over Loughborough Students. Five penalties from Josh Bragman proved the difference as Park eased clear in the second half and up to ninth in the table, just three points behind Students in eighth.
The flags were out for Fylde as they obtained their first away victory of the season at Hull Ionians. Poor home defending saw Fylde tie up their try bonus before half-time and although Ionians fought back to at least gain them two points, it was not enough to stop them sinking into the second relegation spot, now two points from safety.