National Two South champions Rams RFC secured their 28th win of a remarkable campaign as they beat play-off contenders Canterbury. (Photo Credit: Phillipa Hilton)
The City Men were gunning for their 12th successive win before their play-off clash with Chester on May 4th, but they were unable to get the better of the Rams as Canterbury fell to their first home defeat of the season.
Nevertheless, Andy Pratt’s side will still carry confidence heading into the play-off after a superb season on the domestic stage.
Meanwhile on the final day of the term, Tonbridge Juddians and Henley Hawks both clinched convincing wins and Clifton also secured a top six finish after beating Old Redcliffians.
Elsewhere, Guernsey ended their time in National Two South with an excellent victory against Old Albanian while Barnes defeated London Irish Wild Geese.
Canterbury 14-31 Rams RFC
Canterbury were unable to maintain their winning streak before their upcoming National Two play-off as they lost out to Rams RFC.
Joe Duffelen and Ellis Jones scored first-half tries for the National Two South champions, while Ricky Mackintosh went over for Canterbury.
Preparations get underway for the biggest game in Canterbury Rugby Club's 90 year history. Saturday 4th May 3pm kick off. Entry £10 per person including an extra special match programme. Season tickets are not valid for this match but under 18's are free. pic.twitter.com/hcCWTQ2xCI
— Canterbury RFC (@cantrugby) April 29, 2019
Mackintosh’s second made the game level, but Craig Nightingale’s effort gave the Rams a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Tom Humberstone went over for the bonus-point try and Alex Seers rounded off an historic campaign for the Rams with a late penalty to complete the win.
Despite the loss, Canterbury will dust themselves down for their play-off clash with Chester on May 4th as both sides aim for a place in National One next season.
Birmingham and Solihull 24-47 Tonbridge Juddians
Tonbridge Juddians finished the National Two South season in third place as they beat Birmingham and Solihull, who had Adam Clayton sent-off.
The hosts controlled the opening 30 minutes as Nathan Tilsley and Matt Dight both crossed, but TJs were able to make the game level before half-time as Toby May and Finlay Coxon-Smith touched down.
The Bees began the second-half on the back foot as Ryan Jackson put the visitors in front and it got worse for the home side as Clayton was dismissed on 48 minutes.
TJs’ Will Colderick and Dight did exchange scores, but a brace from Hugo Watson and a score from Truman Sullivan helped the away side pull clear.
Corey Venus did have the final say as he dotted down for the Bees, but TJs ended a very successful season by securing their 13th win on the spin.
Henley Hawks 33-12 Bury St Edmunds
Henley Hawks ended the season in fourth place in National Two South following another explosive display against Bury St Edmunds.
After racking up 162 points in three matches prior to this clash with Bury, the Hawks were able to surge clear as Sam Lunnon, Liam O’Neill, Dan Barnes and Leo Webb all crossed.
The game was actually level just before half-time as Bradley Cook’s effort was matched by a penalty try for Bury, but the away side couldn’t handle Henley’s ruthlessness.
The visitors did round off proceedings with a Michael Stanway try, but the afternoon belonged to Henley as they completed their strong season in style.
Worthing Raiders 66-31 Taunton Titans
Worthing Raiders rounded off their National Two South campaign with a 10-try victory over Taunton Titans at Roundstone Lane.
After securing their safety in Round 29, the Raiders had a very enjoyable final day as scores from Johnathan Dawe (2), Matt McLean, Harry Barlow and Kiba Richards gave the hosts a 33-5 lead.
— @RugbyWorthing (@RugbyWorthing) April 27, 2019
The Titans did produce a better second-half display, but Worthing continued to be clinical as Elliot Luke, McLean (2), Dawe and Ben Holt went over, with McLean also kicking 16 points.
Taunton’s points came via Dan Johnson, Lewis Webb, Barrie-John Chapman, Sam Baker and Matt Jess as the Somerset outfit ended the season in fifth place.
Clifton 17-0 Old Redcliffians
Clifton battled to victory over rivals Old Redcliffians to secure their highest finish in National Two South since 2013/14.
After a scoreless first-half at Station Road, the hosts took the initiative after the interval as Niall Gibbons and Thomas Stanton crossed.
Luke Cozens converted both tries and the fly-half also landed a penalty as the Lavender and Blacks sealed sixth place in the division.
Redruth 33-20 Dings Crusaders
Redruth secured a victory on the final day of the National Two South season as they worked hard to defeat Dings Crusaders.
A penalty from Harry Tovey and a score from Luke Arscott gave the visitors a 10-7 lead, with winger Dean Bonds crossing for Redruth.
Ashley Challenger’s unconverted score stretched Dings’ lead, but tries from James Tucker and Bradley Howe put Redruth ahead.
Thomas Anderson’s effort on 76 minutes for the Crusaders reduced the deficit to six points, but Matt Gidlow’s score ensured the victory for the Reds.
Guernsey 26-19 Old Albanian
Guernsey waved goodbye to National Two South on a positive note as they held on to beat Old Albanain.
After their relegation was confirmed two weeks ago, over 500 people at Footes Lane watched on as the Raiders triumphed in their last game of the campaign.
Yes guys! Some outstanding defence in the last 5 minutes to see the Raiders WIN 26-19 @Old_AlbanianRFC
— Guernsey Raiders (@GuernseyRFC) April 27, 2019
George Shannon, Tom Teasdale and Anthony Armstrong all crossed in the first-half as the hosts led 21-7.
Morgan Thompson went over for OAs during the first 40 and it was first blood to the visitors after half-time as Alessandro Ricci darted over.
Just after the hour, both teams exchanged tries as Nick Merrien’s effort was matched by OAs scrum-half Ross Lewis but the away side couldn’t make further inroads as Guernsey signed off with a win.
London Irish Wild Geese 21-29 Barnes
Barnes’ fine end to the season continued on the final day of the campaign as they battled to a victory over relegated London Irish Wild Geese.
A Josh Amadi try helped Wild Geese to an early 7-3 lead, but two tries before half-time for Barnes via Frederic Avis and Jack Garrett put the visitors in front.
Tim Pierce got another for Barnes before Matt Cassin hit back as the Wild Geese trailed 22-14.
Barnes’ George Head dotted down for on 74 minutes and despite another response by the hosts through Sean Cunningham, the away side held on for a fourth win from their last six matches.