Coventry seal promotion, Tigers upset Stour and Clifton + Wild Geese claim vital wins
A 24th victory of the season saw Coventry secure promotion to the GK IPA Championship following a victory over Caldy. (Photo Credit: RJC Photography)
Rowland Winter’s side have been sensational in English rugby’s third tier this term and another stunning performance on the weekend saw them seal the title.
There were also wins in National One for the teams directly below the newly crowned champions as Darlington Mowden Park and Plymouth Albion picked up victories.
The promotion race in National Two North has taken another twist after Stourbridge were beaten by Sheffield Tigers in the Midlands.
Defeat for Neil Mitchell’s side has seen them drop to fourth in the table while both Sedgley Park and Tynedale clinched victories over Otley and Wharfedale, respectively, to keep their top two ambitions alight.
Elsewhere, Blaydon were unable to move out of the bottom three after a defeat to Huddersfield while Luctonians remain rooted to the bottom after an away loss at Macclesfield.
In National Two South, both London Irish Wild Geese and Clifton sealed potentially vital triumphs in their battle to avoid the drop as wins against Redruth and Bury St Edmunds has created some distance between themselves and danger.
At the right end of the table, both Cinderford and Chinnor earned comfortable wins while there were also victories for Tonbridge Juddians and Worthing Raiders.
Caldy 12-55 Coventry
Coventry thumped Caldy to win the National One title and earn promotion to the GK IPA Championship.
At a snowy Paton Field, a blistering first half display from Cov saw Scott Tolmie (2), Max Trimble, Tom Jubb, Alex Grove, James Stokes and Jack Preece all go over to give them a 43-0 lead.
A score just after the break from Rhys Hayes opened Caldy’s account, but tries via Brett Daynes and Rob Knox put the icing on the celebratory cake for Coventry.
Now following @CoventryRugby…
Welcome to #ChampRugby ?? pic.twitter.com/zE5KvdeQfn
— GK IPA Championship (@Champrugby) March 17, 2018
Caldy did score again through Nick Royle, but it was only a faint consolation as Rowland Winter’s men sealed top spot with five games in their season to go.
Winter told Coventry’s website: “We set the target to the boys back in pre-season that we wanted, if we could, to top every part of the league and be the best in attack and defence.
“We said the real target was to get the club back up to the Championship and become an established club at the top end of that, and we’ve achieved part one.
“I’m over the moon, delighted – of course I am – but now we need to finish off this season the right way and create a lot of momentum to take into next season and keep pushing forward.”
Cambridge 15-25 Darlington Mowden Park
Darlington Mowden Park arrested a run of three straight defeats as they secured a victory over Cambridge at Volac Park.
Jack Payne and Adam Radwan dotted down as the visitors took a 12-3 lead into the break while Dan Lewis landed a penalty for Cambridge.
Rob Conquest went over to reduce the deficit after half-time.
Darlington responded with two Gary Law penalties, but a Michael Ayrton try brought Cambridge to within three points of the away side.
However, Ben Frankland was able to touch down in the final minutes for DMP to seal their first win for just over a month.
Plymouth Albion 17-10 Bishop’s Stortford
Plymouth Albion maintained their unbeaten home record this season and moved into third place following a gutsy victory over Bishop’s Stortford.
Tries from Nick Hankin and Rob Duff helped the away side into a 10-7 lead by half-time with Cam Setter scoring for the hosts.
Plymouth clawed themselves into the lead with a Luke Chapman try just after the hour before a Matt Shepherd penalty clinched the win for Kieran Hallet’s side.
National Two North
Sedgley Park 24-21 Otley
Sedgley Park strengthened their position in the top two of National Two North as they narrowly beat Otley at Park Lane.
Matt Bebbington’s men, who are now three points clear of third placed Tynedale, led 12-7 through tries from Steve Collins and Jamie Harrison.
But they trailed heading into the interval as Oli Goss added to Paul Petchy’s opening score to give Otley the lead.
Both sides exchanged scores after the restart as Sam Lowthion’s effort was cancelled out by a penalty try for Otley, but with seven minutes to go, Sedge secured the victory as Tom Coe barged his way over.
Wharfedale 14-33 Tynedale
Tynedale moved up to third place in National Two North as they came from behind to beat Wharfedale.
The visitors were 14-12 behind at the break, but another superb second half from Tyne means their promotion ambitions are very much alive and kicking.
Matty Outston, James Spencer (2) and Guy Pike all ran in tries for Scott Lawson’s side who also secured their first away win since December.
A score from Oli Cicognini plus a penalty try was all Wharfedale could muster up at the Avenue.
FT Stourbridge 26 – Tigers 28. Well done lads !!! ????????
— Sheffield Tigers (@SheffTigersRUFC) March 17, 2018
National Two South
FT: @LondonIrishARFC Wild Geese 39 @RedruthRugby 32 @Nat2RugbySouth #BleedGreen #COYI #Nat2S ??
— Adrian Connor (@btc303) March 17, 2018