Ampthill draw level, Hull Ionians back in control and Henley enhance top two hopes
There may have only been 13 fixtures across the National Leagues on the weekend, but there was no shortage of entertainment in all three divisions.
In National One, Ampthill and District moved level on points with league leaders Old Elthamians after thumping Caldy while Rosslyn Park are now only four points behind the top two following their victory over Birmingham Moseley.
Hull Ionians had a very successful Saturday in National Two North as they moved five points clear at the summit of the division. Martyn Wood’s side hammered South Leicester, but promotion rivals Huddersfield and Chester both lost against Wharfedale and Hinckley, respectively.
Elsewhere in National Two South, Henley Hawks have moved to within four points of the play-off place after beating fellow top two candidates Taunton Titans while relegation-threatened Birmingham and Solihull suffered heartache at home to Clifton.
Below is a full round-up of all the action:
Ampthill and District 59-7 Caldy
Ampthill and District are level on points with league leaders Old Elthamians as they ran in nine tries to secure a bonus-point win against Caldy.
Sam Hudson scored the first try for Ampthill before Sydney Blackmore, Sam Baker and Sam Hanks extended their lead.
Blackmore stretched Ampthill’s advantage to 33-0 and Ciaran Whyte touched down just before the hour.
Euan McKirdy scored twice, either side of a penalty try for Caldy, and Blackmore capped a man of the match performance by sealing his hat-trick two minutes from time.
James Pritchard kicked 14 points for the hosts, who were able to take advantage of their game in hand.
Birmingham Moseley 27-45 Rosslyn Park
Rosslyn Park proved too strong for Birmingham Moseley, but they did have to fend off a second-half fightback from the hosts to ensure they moved up to third in the National One table.
The first half belonged to Park as Benji Marfo, Hugo Ellis, Jack Barnard, Ali Wade and Karl Gibson all went over to put the visitors 38-3 ahead at half-time.
But Moseley, who remain in the bottom three after this loss, did mount a comeback at Billesley Common.
The impressive Aeden Maloney dotted down on two occasions, as did Jacques le Roux, as the home side reduced the deficit to 11 points with 10 minutes remaining.
However, Nick Lovell dashed Moseley’s hopes of a recovery as he barged his way over to wrap up the victory for Park.
The result for Kieran Power’s side leaves them four points behind league leaders Old Elthamians while Moseley are now six points shy of safety.
Chinnor 48-35 Rotherham Titans
Craig Holland scored a hat-trick as Chinnor returned to winning ways in style against Rotherham Titans at Kingsey Road.
Matt Williams’ men halted a four-game losing streak and they had a bonus-point secured by half-time courtesy of Holland (2), Kieran Goss and Patrick Schickerling.
Tom Jubb and Holland added further scores after the break in a pulsating contest in Oxfordshire.
Rotherham were awarded two penalty tries over the course of the afternoon and also claimed a bonus-point of their own with scores from Dan Richardson and Ali Thomson.
Sale FC 32-27 Darlington Mowden Park
Sale FC scored two tries in each half to continue their positive form as they clinched a bonus-point victory at home against Darlington Mowden Park.
Ryan Parkinson and Matt Postlethwaite both went over as Sale led 18-13, with fly-half Ameliano Calle Rivas kicking a conversion, penalty and drop-goal for the hosts.
Matt Heaton and Shaun McCartney had both touched down for DMP, but the away side fell further behind after the interval as the in-form Paolo Odogwu darted over.
Johnny Leota’s converted score on 67 minutes put Sale 32-13 ahead, but DMP fought back to claim two bonus-points as Matt Dudman and Simon Uzokwe scored in the final four minutes.
Sale are now 13 points clear of the drop zone after this latest victory as they edge closer to securing their status in National One.
National Two North
Hull Ionians 59-10 South Leicester
National Two North league leaders Hull Ionians strengthened their title credentials as they eased to victory against South Leicester at Brantingham Park.
Tries from Adam Brown, Ben Bell (2) and Lewis Minikin put the I’s 24-3 up at half-time.
Following the restart, Bell and Minikin both completed their hat-tricks while James Sanderson and James Tincknell added further scores in the rout.
Wesley Cope scored a consolation for South, who remain 11 points from safety heading into March while Hull are now five points clear at the summit.
Huddersfield 13-20 Wharfedale
Huddersfield are up to second in National Two North, despite falling to a defeat against an in-form Wharfedale at Lockwood Park.
Field were aiming to enhance their title ambitions, but they were hampered by an early red-card shown to Nick Sharpe.
He was dismissed on 17 minutes and Wharfedale were already 7-3 in front thanks to a Phil Woodhead score, but the match was level at 10-10 just after half-time as Elliot Hodgson darted over for the hosts.
Jack Blakeney-Edwards slotted his second penalty of the afternoon, but was matched by Huddersfield’s Chris Johnson who pinged over a drop-goal on 62 minutes.
However, Dale would find the decisive score in the final quarter as Ralph Wellock touched down to seal a fifth win on the spin for the Greens.
Field are now in second place by virtue of ‘Points Difference’, but they do have another game in hand to come against Tynedale on March 16th.
Hinckley 35-7 Chester
Chester’s promotion bid suffered a slight dent as they were beaten by Hinckley, who were inspired by Callum Dacey.
Dacey scored two of his four tries in the first period as the hosts led 14-0 at the break before the winger completed his hat-trick on 47 minutes.
The star of the show was @callum_dacey5 against @RUFCChester on Saturday as he ran he 4 tries. @Joshyno10 also grabbed a try on the final whistle, whilst @Mr_Joe_Wilson kicked 5 conversions from 5 taking him past 500 points for the club pic.twitter.com/WvMpDqNxNs
— Hinckley Rugby (@Hinckley_Rugby) 24 February 2019
Shay Owen got one back for Chester, but Hinckley remained in charge when Dacey went over for try number four before Josh Smith put the icing on the cake for George Chuter’s men.
After losing their unbeaten home record to Huddersfield in Round 23, Hinckley returned to winning ways while defeat for Chester means they have now dropped out of the top two.
Tynedale 31-5 Peterborough Lions
Peterborough Lions’ survival hopes suffered another setback as Tynedale ran out bonus-point winners at Corbridge.
The impressive Morgan Passman scored twice in the opening 12 minutes for the hosts before Allen Carr provided a response for the division’s bottom club.
However, Matty Ouston touched down to keep Tyne in control at the break and after the interval, Rob Farrar and Will Montgomery both went over to wrap up another home win for Ben Wood’s side.
Tyne sit seventh in the table while this latest defeat for Peterborough Lions means they are 25 points from safety with seven games to go.
Sheffield Tigers 3-49 Sedgley Park
Sedgley Park recorded their fourth victory from their last six games as they inflicted a heavy defeat on Sheffield Tigers.
The away side took the lead through Ollie Glasse try, but the hosts replied with a penalty from the boot of Mark Ireland.
However, Sedge went on to run in six more tries as Max Skofic, Danny Maher, Matt Riley, Richard Lepori, Andy Riley and Thomas Coe all crossed the line.
Steve Collins converted every try to finish with 14 points as Sedge’s encouraging end to the season continues.
Macclesfield 14-50 Preston Grasshoppers
Macclesfield’s bid to avoid relegation from National Two North was dealt a major blow as they were hammered by Preston Grasshoppers at Priory Park.
Luke Proctor and Conor Trueman both notched two tries with Scott Jordan, James Fitzpatrick and Nathan Pope also touching down for Preston.
Josh Redfern scored a first-half try for Macclesfield as Hoppers led 19-7 at the break with Will Davies also scoring for the Blues.
Macc, who sit 15th in the division, remain 20 points from safety as we enter the final two months of the campaign.
National Two South
Henley Hawks 38-5 Taunton Titans
Henley Hawks are four points behind the play-off spot in National Two South after producing an impressive display to beat rivals Taunton Titans.
The hosts led 17-0 before Taunton scored their only try of the afternoon through Aron Struminski.
Henley, who began the day one place and one point behind Taunton, were excellent and scores from Jacob Albon, Ben Bolster and Dan Barnes established a healthy interval lead.
Magnificent performance from the Hawks sees them overcome Taunton, 38-5 and secure a try bonus point in the process. With the victory, Henley move up to 3rd place in #nat2s, 4 point behind Canterbury. #GTH #HAO #alltoplayfor pic.twitter.com/z0Fdxq2MQx
— Henley Hawks Rugby (@HenleyHawks) 24 February 2019
The Hawks added further tries via Sam Lunnon (2) and Liam O’Neil as Nigel Dudding’s side kept their top two ambitions alive.
As for Taunton, this defeat put a dent in their own promotion aspirations as Tony Yapp’s men now sit eight points behind second-placed Canterbury.
Birmingham and Solihull 28-28 Clifton
Luke Cozens’ late try for Clifton denied Birmingham and Solihull a crucial victory in National Two South.
Cozens converted his own score to snatch a share of the spoils, while the Bees had to settle for a draw at Portway.
Tries from Corey Venus, Adam Clayton, Dan Kelly and Matt Dight had given Birmingham and Solihull a 28-21 lead. But Clifton – who had scored through Cozens and Niall Gibbons (2) – battled back as the former grabbed his second to break Bees hearts.
The draw for Pete Glackin’s men now leaves them 12 points from safety, with a crucial game to come this weekend against relegation rivals London Irish Wild Geese.
Old Albanian 22-12 Dings Crusaders
James Buckland’s reign as Old Albanian head coach saw his new club end an eight-game winless run as they defeated Dings Crusaders.
A quiet opening 40 minutes saw OAs flanker Tobias Munday score the only try while Dan Watt landed a penalty and a conversion.
The hosts started the second-half with a try from winger Lloyd Anderson before Charles Watson extended OAs’ advantage.
Dings scored two quick-fire tries through Harry Tovey and Marcus Brooker to bring them back into the contest with 12 minutes remaining, but OAs held out for a welcome victory.