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by Tom Little

timthumbBirmingham Moseley                     72         14           Cambridge           Attendance   1011

Blackheath                                        59         17           Blaydon                                          820

Darlington Mowden Park               22            9          Old Albanian          Highest        1074

Esher                                                  34          14          Coventry Rugby                             598

Fylde                                                   39         37           Plymouth Albion                           685

Hartpury College                               43         14           Hull Ionians            Lowest          363 or 287 ?

Loughborough Students                  26         26           Rosslyn Park                                  458

Macclesfield                                       12         28           Ampthill & District                       423

Week six saw only one away win, plus one draw, with a fifth win on the bounce for Blackheath taking them up to third place in the table while wins for Fylde and Esher saw them move up four places apiece. Congratulations once again to Hartpury College who retained their 100% record, and commiserations to Blaydon for still being without a win.

Leaders Hartpury College powered on with another bonus point victory over plucky Hull Ionians, who were only eight points adrift at half-time. Helped by three tries from centre Luke Eves, College raced away with it in the second half as their superior skills and finishing power took over. This sixth successive win takes Hartpury seven points ahead of their closest rivals.

Still chasing them hard in second place, Birmingham Moseley recorded the highest NL1 win of this season over visiting Cambridge, scoring 72 points. The bonus point was already in the bag after 30 minutes as Moseley ran riot, scoring 11 tries in total. They were helped by an early yellow card against Cambridge, helping them score two tries. Home centres Alex Grove and Greg King were in fine form as the backs found it all too easy. A warning perhaps to Hartpury that they cannot take Moseley too lightly.

Blackheath are equal on points with Moseley after a comprehensive win over visitors Blaydon. There was only one score in it by half-time, but with hooker Dan George running the line-out and marshalling his pack, Blackheath became more dominant helped by three yellow cards for Blaydon. Six second-half tries sealed an emphatic win, leaving Blaydon with another loss as it looks increasingly ominous for them.

Ampthill & District maintained fourth place with a comfortable win at Macclesfield, helped by thee early tries. Although it was more even in the second half, by then the damage had been done. Ampthill eased to a bonus point victory, but the home loss drops Macclesfield down three places to the relegation zone in 15th place.

Darlington Mowden Park go into the top half of the table following their home victory over Old Albanian. The largest league gate of the day saw another quick start by the home side with two early tries helped by a masterclass from Falcons hooker Santiago Socino, as well as a yellow card for Albanian. The rest of the game was more even, but DMP are now showing glimpses of how they could be challenging for the top three.

It was a late, late show at Fylde as an injury-time try by Greg Smith sealed the win over a disappointed Plymouth Albion side. Albion were always competitive as Kieran Hallett kept them in the game with his penalty kicks, but as we know from Fylde, they do have the ability to score from anywhere. This try-bonus win took Fylde up four places to ninth in the table, now one place ahead of Coventry who they face on Saturday. The loss for Albion drops them three places to sixth.

Loughborough Students had the better of the first half against visitors Rossly Park, leading 20-10 at the break after a half dominated by penalties and Josh Sharp’s kicking. Park came more into the game in the second half and indeed took a three-point lead just before the end before another Sharp penalty earned the draw with both sides taking two points – still not enough to move Rosslyn Park out of the danger zone.