Tom Little’s review of the rest of last weekend’s National League One action
Ampthill & District 43 24 Fylde attendance 482
Blaydon 19 25 Coventry Rugby 305
Cambridge 22 36 Esher 620
Darlington Mowden Park 48 12 Macclesfield 711
Loughborough Students 20 29 Birmingham Moseley lowest 250
Old Albanian 36 10 Blackheath 340
Plymouth Albion 26 7 Hull Ionians highest 1169
Rosslyn Park 28 36 Hartpury College 320
Four teams recorded away wins, including an unexpected one for Esher, while leaders Hartpury College had to survive a spirited challenge from Rosslyn Park. The battle to avoid the second relegation place is surely down to just two sides, Blaydon and Hull Ionians who are now separated by two points.
Hartpury College moved to within one win of promotion with a hard-fought win at Rosslyn Park. Trailing with five minutes to go, College could thank scrum-half Ben Vellacott for a late penalty and converted try as they preserved their unbeaten record. It was close throughout with both kickers, Jacob Perry and Harry Leonard, in fine form before the late intervention by Vellacott.
Plymouth Albion, n front of the highest crowd of the day, remain in second place after a home bonus point win over Hull Ionians. Trailing 19-0 at half-time, Hull staged a comeback in the second period with an early try and were unlucky not to get more out of the game before a late home try gave Albion their bonus point. Ionians remain next to bottom, now two points behind Blaydon and safety.
Third-placed Ampthill & District were always in control as they beat Fylde and secured a bonus point. The home pack became more effective as the game went on, but Fylde never gave up with a hat-trick from full-back Chris Briers earning them a try bonus point. The win keeps Ampthill three points behind Albion, and the point for Fylde surely makes them safe.
Birmingham Moseley stayed in fourth place after recording a hard-earned try bonus point win at Loughborough Students. Before the lowest league crowd of the day, Moseley overcame a three-point half-time deficit to run in three second-half tries for the win, helped once again by excellent goal-kicking from fly-half James Williams.
Old Albanian bade a fond farewell to head coach James Shanahan as they defeated his new employers, Blackheath in a comprehensive home win. A close first half was then turned by a fine hat-trick from former Coventry player/coach James Pritchard. The win keeps OA in eighth spot but drops Blackheath four points behind Coventry.
Macclesfield found Darlington Mowden Park in scintillating form, especially in the second half as they overwhelmed their visiting with some exciting running rugby. A late hat-trick by winger Adam Radwan sealed the win, helped by Gary Law’s goal-kicking. The loss leaves Macclesfield within one more defeat of certain relegation.
Home side Cambridge slumped to defeat against visitors Esher, who had not previously won away for 11 games. Drawing 19-all at half-time, Esher took more control as the game went on and a late try gave them a larger win than was perhaps justified. This win allows Esher to overtake Cambridge in the league in 12th place, but surely makes both sides safe from relegation.