Hull Ionians secured their first win for just under two months as they toppled Blackheath to move to within touching distance of safety in National One.
The I’s are now level on points with 13th placed Loughborough Students following their fifth home win of the campaign while the two sides directly below them, Old Albanian and Fylde, both suffered defeats against Birmingham Moseley and Rosslyn Park, respectively.
At the right end of the table, Coventry responded to their loss at Blackheath in superb fashion as they eased past Esher while it was a less straightforward afternoon for Darlington Mowden Park at Caldy.
Elsewhere, Ampthill and Distict capitalised on Plymouth Albion’s postponement against Loughborough Students by jumping up to third in the table after victory over Bishop’s Stortford while Old Elthamians edged past Cambridge.
Coventry 57-12 Esher
League leaders Coventry returned to winning ways in style as they outclassed Esher at Butts Park Arena.
Anthony Matato (2), Max Trimble and Nile Dacres scored to help them into a 24-7 half-time lead as Cov recaptured their swagger after their defeat to Blackheath in Round 18.
They added further scores through James Stokes, Rob Knox and Phil Nilsen as well as being awarded a penalty try.
Esher replied through efforts from Niall Saunders and Devlin Hope, but the hosts were back to their ruthless best.
Caldy 8-10 Darlington Mowden Park
Darlington Mowden Park remain second in National One thanks to a last-gasp victory over Caldy at Paton Field.
A Gavin Roberts penalty gave Caldy the lead, but DMP went in front when Brett Connon surged over the line.
— Official Mowden Park (@MowdenPark) January 21, 2018
Warren Seals converted to keep the visitors ahead at half-time, but Nick Royle’s try soon after the break put Caldy back in front.
Darlington kept hammering away at the Caldy defence to try and find a breakthrough and as the clock ticked towards red, the away side were awarded a penalty which Seals slotted over to snatch the victory for Danny Brown’s side.
Ampthill and District 22-12 Bishop’s Stortford
Sam Baker scored twice as Ampthill and District prevailed against Bishop’s Stortford at Dillingham Park.
A tight opening 40 minutes saw A’s winger Baker score the only try while James Pritchard pushed the hosts into a 10-0 lead off the tee.
Bishop’s Stortford started the second period with a try from winger Ryan Hutler before Baker put the home side back in control.
Stortford’s hopes of gaining a result in Bedfordshire then took a hit as Dan Leo was shown a straight red-card on 70 minutes and in his absence, Ampthill ramped up the intensity to ultimately win the game as Gavin Williams scooted over.
Stortford did have the final say on proceedings as James Apperley touched down from close range, but it was merely a consolation for Andy Long’s men.
Hull Ionians 32-21 Blackheath
Hull Ionians secured a bonus-point victory over Blackheath to move to the cusp of safety in National One.
Blackheath made the better start thanks to Jake Lloyd’s try, but the I’s responded swiftly as Joe Allot levelled things up.
And the hosts made sure they were ahead at the break as two Greg Lound penalties and a James Sanderson try gave them an 18-14 advantage.
— Joey (@joeyallott) January 21, 2018
Harry Bate had added to Blackheath’s tally before the interval and his side went ahead soon after the restart as Joe Tarrant squeezed over.
However, Hull produced an excellent response and were rewarded when James Tincknell and Sam Wilson both dotted down to seal the bonus-point and the Yorkshire outfit’s first win since November.
Old Elthamians 12-7 Cambridge
Four Joe Carlisle penalties proved to be enough for Old Elthamians in a tight National One encounter against Cambridge at College Meadow.
The hosts led 3-0 after 10 minutes thanks to Carlisle’s effort from the tee after a good start from Gavin Lach’s side.
But, Mike Ayrton’s try gave Cambridge a four-point lead at the close of the first half as the Blood and Sand dotted down on 39 minutes.
Carlisle landed two more penalties to set up a tense final 10 minutes, but the fly-half held his nerve to slot over his fourth kick of the afternoon as OEs clinched the victory.
Birmingham Moseley 34-13 Old Albanian
Birmingham Moseley produced an impressive display of clinical finishing as they scored six tries in their victory over Old Albanian.
Buster Lawrence, Brendon Snyman and Ciaran Moore crossed as Mosley built up a 17-10 half-time lead.
— Martin Watson (@MartinWVideos) January 21, 2018
Tadgh McElroy’s effort and Tom Bednall’s penalty kept the OAs in touch heading into the second period, but Moore went over for another score after the interval to keep the hosts in control.
Bednall did land his third kick of the afternoon, but Adam Caves and Will Butler claimed further tries to wrap up the win for Moseley.
Rosslyn Park 31-15 Fylde
Rosslyn Park kept their cool and punished Fylde in the second half to extend their unbeaten run to five matches in National One.
The Lancashire outfit were in this contest at the break thanks to a David Fairbrother try, but they did trail.
First half tries from by Benji Marfo, Arthur Ellis and Nick Lovell gave Rosslyn Park a 17-7 interval lead.
After the restart, a Greg Smith penalty cut Park’s lead but touchdowns by Oli Grove and Owen Hughes ultimately sealed a hard-earned victory for the hosts, despite Tom Carleton’s excellent solo effort late on.
Plymouth Albion P-P Loughborough Students
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