It is third against fourth in National Two South this weekend as Henley Hawks travel to Cornwall to take on Redruth as the race for the promotion places begins to hot up.
After four straight wins, the Hawks currently occupy the bronze medal position and they are just a couple of points off the top two. As for Redruth, a surprising defeat against London Irish Wild Geese in Round Eight means Pale Nonu’s side are now three points behind second placed Taunton Titans.
The aforementioned Titans host Bury St Edmunds this weekend while league leaders Rams RFC go to a struggling Old Redcliffians side.
Also, in National Two South, Canterbury travel to Birmingham & Solhuill and Dings Crusaders entertain Barnes while Tonbridge Juddians face Guernsey and London Irish Wild Geese go to Clifton in search of back to back triumphs.
Old Redcliffians v Rams RFC
One of the signs of possible league winners and promotion hopefuls is the ability to win ‘ugly’ and by all accounts, it sounded like Rams RFC fell into that category last weekend. According to head coach Seb Reynolds, the table toppers never really gained control against Tonbridge Juddians in Round Eight, but the Berkshire side managed to gain a victory that leaves them four points clear at the summit of National Two South.
The Rams have now won four games on the spin and while they are oozing confidence at present, the same cannot be said for Old Redcliffians. The hosts come into this clash with the league leaders having lost their last four matches which means they are two points off safety. Old Reds’ only win of the term came over a month ago against bottom of the table London Irish Wild Geese so if they were to double their tally of victories this weekend, it would certainly upset the applecart.
Taunton Titans v Bury St Edmunds
It was an instant return into the top two for Taunton Titans last weekend. Tony Yapp’s side secured an excellent victory away at Old Albanian and it was the perfect recovery having lost at home to Henley Hawks in Round Seven. With that in mind, the Titans will be keen to return to winning ways in Somerset this weekend when they host Bury St Edmunds.
The visitors to the Commsplus Stadium will be hoping that isn’t the case as they look to respond in Round Nine. Bury picked up a welcome win against Old Redcliffians two weeks ago, but last Saturday, the Wolfpack slipped to a home defeat against Dings Crusaders. It is now just one victory in four for Jon Curry’s side so a triumph to end October would be just the tonic Bury St Edmunds need after a difficult month for the 10th placed side.
Redruth v Henley Hawks
Henley Hawks made it four wins on the spin in Round Eight as they defeated Worthing Raiders at Dry Leas. After a mini-blip in form towards the end of September, Nigel Dudding’s side have fully recaptured their early season sparkle and they will be confident when they take the trip to Redruth on Saturday.
Redruth V Henley Hawks K.O. 3pm
Team Selection pic.twitter.com/CKFJbjiTaq
— RedruthRugby (@RedruthRugby) October 26, 2018
The Hawks moved up to third place last weekend and that came at the expense of Redruth. The Reds had won four games on the trot prior to last Saturday, but they were left shell-shocked by London Irish Wild Geese as they claimed their first victory of the campaign. Pale Nonu’s side would have been massively frustrated by the surprising result in Round Eight, but they have a perfect opportunity to redeem themselves against a fellow promotion challenger at the Recreation Ground this weekend.
Birmingham and Solihull v Canterbury
With Redruth and Henley Hawks clashing this weekend, Canterbury may see this a chance to swoop back into the centre of the promotion picture when they travel to Birmingham and Solihull. After three straight wins, the City Men have been slightly inconsistent in October which has just tempered their strong start to the campaign.
Andy Pratt’s side have won two and lost two of their last four matches, but both defeats have come on the road. The Kent-outfit will certainly be looking to improve on that record on Saturday, but Birmingham and Solihull will have other ideas. The Bees picked up a crucial away victory at Guernsey in Round Eight and now Pete Glackin’s side are five points off safety. Without their deduction at the start of the season, the Midlands club would be out of the bottom three, but a bonus-point win back at Portway could see an improving Birmingham and Solihull side move out of the relegation places on Saturday.
Dings Crusaders v Barnes
Dings Crusaders and Barnes were promoted into National Two South back in April and I think it is fair to say both will be satisfied with their progress as October concludes. Dings will have a wider smile on their face as Luke Arscott’s men continue to impress at this level. Victory away at Bury St Edmunds in Round Eight lifted the Crusaders up to sixth place and currently, they are on the same amount of points as they were when they suffered relegation from this division in 2015.
— tom anderson (@ander_son3) October 21, 2018
The Bristol-based side have also won three of their last four games, but Barnes arrive in the West Country in decent form too. After just one victory from their first six games, Barnes have secured successive triumphs over Tonbridge Juddians and Old Redcliffians to move six points clear of the danger zone as we head into Round Nine. Both sides will be confident of maintaining their momentum this weekend, but who will come out on top at Shaftesbury Park?
Tonbridge Juddians v Guernsey
Back to back defeats for Tonbridge Juddians has seen the men from the Slade slip to seventh in the table. Peter Dankett’s side had racked up four wins on the spin, but successive losses against Barnes and Rams RFC have just taken the shine off a relatively strong start to the season for TJs.
Next up for the Kent-outfit is a fixture with Guernsey, who have also lost consecutive matches in the build-up to this clash. Jordan Reynolds’s men were beaten by Rams RFC in Round Seven, but their home loss against Birmingham and Solihull last time out would have been tough to take for the Raiders. However, the Channel Island side are still above the relegation places and a win this weekend would allow Guernsey to continue distancing themselves from danger.
Worthing Raiders v Old Albanian
After another solid home performance from Worthing Raiders, Jody Levett’s side failed to translate their winning formula on to the road as they were beaten by Henley Hawks last weekend. The Raiders currently sit in mid-table and it is easy to see why. Worthing are unbeaten at Roundstone Lane whilst all four of their defeats this season have come on their travels.
— @RugbyWorthing (@RugbyWorthing) October 25, 2018
It is a problem which will be bugging the Raiders, but for now, they are back on their own patch on Saturday looking to maintain their 100 per cent record. Aiming become the first team to win in Sussex will be Old Albanian. The side relegated from National One last season are one place and one point behind Worthing after a mixed start to life at this level. Gavin Hogg’s men have won just one of their last four games so OAs will be keen to end October in a positive fashion.
Clifton v London Irish Wild Geese
They may have been beaten by Canterbury last weekend, but Clifton will certainly have taken some positives from their 40-34 defeat in Kent. Matt Salter’s side battled hard to gain two bonus-points at the Marine Travel Ground and the Lavender and Blacks will now be keen to go one better this Saturday when they entertain London Irish Wild Geese.
The Gloucestershire outfit are seven points clear of the relegation places while their visitors arrive in the West Country at the foot of the division. The Wild Geese are occupying 16th spot, but they come into this clash following their maiden victory of the season. Lee Starling’s side were superb in Round Eight as they stunned Redruth, but they will be determined to back up that excellent win as they look to begin digging themselves out of danger.