Tom Little’s review of the rest of last weekend’s National League One action
Bishop’s Stortford (4) 18 14 (1) Old Albanian attendance 743
Caldy (0) 22 39 (5) Ampthill & District 531
Cambridge (0) 7 40 (5) Coventry Rugby (highest) 912
Darlington Mowden Park (5) 33 31 (2) Plymouth Albion 890
Esher (4) 28 19 (0) Blackheath 650
Fylde (1) 22 26 (5) Birmingham Moseley 476
Loughborough Students (5) 58 29 (1) Hull Ionians (lowest) 250
Old Elthamians (5) 34 27 (2) Rosslyn Park 445
Week 9 saw Coventry increase their lead to seven points whilst defeats for both Blackheath and Plymouth Albion allowed Darlington Mowden Park to take over second place. A high-scoring game at Loughborough Students saw them edge closer to safety at the expense of Hull Ionians.
The key game between Darlington Mowden Park and their visitors Plymouth Albion ended with a last-minute try and conversion to win the game for the hosts. It was an exciting nip and tuck encounter which could have gone either way. The Connon brothers and Falcons players Adam Radwan and Simon Uzokwe proved the catalyst for the home side. The win moves DMP up to second place in the table with Albion remaining in third.
Ampthill & District kept pressure on the top of the league with a bonus point win at Caldy. A close first half ended with two late tries for the visitors, fly-half Josh Sharp scoring a brace. The win was built on a fine defensive display against a lively Caldy side. The win moves Ampthill up a place to fourth, ten points behind Coventry.
There was something of a surprise loss for Blackheath away to Esher. The home side have struggled of late, but a much-improved performance saw them deservedly take the spoils. The Esher pack came out on top, giving the backs plenty of possession to score early tries, before some yellow cards allowed Blackheath back into the game. The loss drops Blackheath down three places to fifth, now 11 points behind the leaders.
Bishop’s Stortford remain sixth after a nervous and error-strewn home win over Old Albanian. OA went into a narrow half-time lead, but an improved second half by BS, helped by a yellow card against OA, gave the hosts the impetus to score two tries for the win. The loss leaves OA only three points above the danger zone.
It was close as well at Old Elthamians who trailed 19-17 at half-time to visitors Rosslyn Park. With experienced full-back Chris Surman in fine form and setting up most of the home attacks, they ran in five tries although it did require a late Dom Lespierre score to seal it.
Birmingham Moseley’s topsy turvy form continued with a narrow try bonus point win at bottom side Fylde. The Moseley pack were well on top, but three home tries kept the pressure on the visitors until a late series of scrum offences led to a penalty try. The win moves Moseley up to eighth but leaves Fylde isolated at the bottom, 11 points from safety.
There was a high-scoring encounter between two sides in the relegation zone, Loughborough Students and Hull Ionians. Both sides had managed to get their try bonus points before half-time with Ionians holding a narrow 26-24 lead. It was a different story in the second half as the Students took control of the game for a home win which leaves them still six points from safety with Hull Ionians now three points above the bottom three.