Caldy and Sale FC continue march
Once again, the top two in National Two North did not put a foot wrong as they strengthened their promotion bids as we head into the final two months of the campaign.
League leaders Caldy stretched their unbeaten run to 22 matches as they beat Luctonians while it was eight wins in a row for Sale FC as they battled to victory against Harrogate.
Both sides have seemingly not felt the pressure since the turn of the year and remain on course to finish in the top two.
Elsewhere in the top half, Leicester Lions returned to winning ways while there was more misery for Stourbridge and more joy for Chester and Tynedale.
At the wrong end of the table, the bottom seven teams all suffered defeats while an inspired performance from Alex Salt helped Hinckley to victory.
Luctonians 5-36 Caldy
Caldy took another step towards promotion from National Two North as they crushed Luctonians to secure their 15th consecutive victory.
Tom Banks set the tone when he crossed for the first try in the opening minute of this contest, followed by Gavin Roberts and Dan Salisbury.
Lock Jack Collister went over after half-time, with John Weir and Forbes Edwards rounding off the scoring in the second period.
Louis Silver’s score was all the Lucts had to show for their effort.
Harrogate 10-21 Sale FC
Sale FC tightened their grip on the play-off spot in National Two North as they came from behind to beat Harrogate.
A try from Harry Barnard and a penalty via the boot of David Doherty gave the home side early impetus, but Jack Moorhouse crashed over in reply.
Moorhouse doubled his tally for the afternoon and put his side ahead as he dotted down after the break before Chris Johnson capitalised on a Harrogate knock-on to seal the victory for Sale FC.
Leicester Lions 36-12 Wharfedale
Leicester Lions returned to winning ways thanks to this bonus-point victory over Wharfedale at Westleigh Park.
The hosts’ promotion ambitions suffered a major setback last weekend after a 21-0 defeat to Sale FC, but the Lions bounced back to clinch their 10th home win of the campaign.
Sam Benjamin’s try and a penalty from Elliot Bale gave the home side a 10-7 advantage at half-time, with Dan Stockdale going over for the visitors.
Wharfedale then went ahead after the break thanks to a Josh Burridge try, but Leicester were able to hit back as ill-discipline proved costly for the away side. Devon Constant grabbed a brace and Marco Dallavalle also crossed to secure a morale boosting win for the Lions.
Stourbridge 14-19 Sedgley Park
Stourbridge fell to their fourth straight defeat as they were beaten at home by Sedgley Park.
Neil Mitchell’s side have failed to win in February and as a result, their promotion aims are now all over for another season.
Sedge led 5-0 heading into the second period of this contest and stretched their lead further with two converted tries.
James Othuhu crossed for Stour’s first try of the afternoon before the Midlands side grabbed a late bonus-point thanks to their second score.
The win for Sedge was only their fourth away victory of the season and they remain two points behind third placed Leicester Lions.
Sheffield Tigers 26-37 Chester
Chester continued their impressive recent form as they battled back to record a bonus-point victory at Sheffield Tigers.
The Cheshire side had trailed 18-7 at the break as Jamie Broadley and Tom Farrell both crossed with eight points coming from Mark Ireland’s boot.
Number 8 Guy Ford had touched down for the visitors and they fell further behind after the interval as Broadley grabbed his second on his 100th appearance for the Tigers.
Ross White then reduced Sheffield’s lead to just six points before both sides exchanged penalties.
But Tom Foden’s try plus two more scores – one from Andy Baston – secured a Chester win.
Tynedale 38-20 Otley
Tynedale maintained their good form with a victory over Otley at Corbridge.
Winger Oliver Walker’s first-half try along with efforts from Dan Taylor, Graeme Dunn and a sensational score from Rob Parker helped Tyne into a 24-10 interval lead.
Joe Mills grabbed Tynedale’s fifth try just after the break and the hosts ran in two further scores to earn their fourth win from their last five matches.
This result for Otley – who parted company with Head Coach Mark Luffman earlier this month – was their 11th loss on the road this season and the defeat leaves them 10th in the table while Tyne stay seventh.
South Leicester 23-10 Preston Grasshoppers
South Leicester ended the month with a much needed win as they secured a comfortable victory over Preston Grasshoppers.
The hosts, who had won two of their last six matches prior to this fixture, led 20-0 after a dominant first-half display with Blane Howe (2) and Gareth Turner both crossing while Rick Aley landed five points from the tee.
Preston began the second period on the front foot and were rewarded for their endeavour when Ally Murray crossed on 55 minutes.
Hoppers were then given a route back into this contest when Josh McLaurin was sent off for South after receiving two yellow-cards, but the Lancashire side couldn’t take full advantage.
The only remaining scores of the game were a penalty apiece for Aley and Mike Searle as South clinched the victory.
Hinckley 41-20 Scunthorpe
A hat-trick from Alex Salt helped Hinckley to a bonus-point win over Scunthorpe at Leicester Road.
Salt scored the only try of the first-half as the hosts trailed 15-8 at the break, Steve Johnson kicking five penalties for Scunthorpe.
Both sides were reduced to 14-men just before the interval, but it was Hinckley that responded better to losing a player as Sam Driver grabbed a quick-fire brace to put his side in front.
Hinckley then had Luke Coltman sent-off for a straight arm tackle and despite playing the final quarter a man down, the home side were able to take the game away from Scunthorpe.
Salt completed his hat-trick while Josh Smith also touched down to round off the scoring for the home side. Ash Dibden crossed late on for Scunthorpe, but it was merely a consolation for the Lincolnshire side.