All eyes were on the summit of National One as Chinnor outfought local rivals Rams while a flurry of fightbacks meant the season of goodwill was absent on derby weekend. (Photo Credit: Gareth Siddons)

National One

Chinnor defeated Rams 21-7 in front of a record crowd at Kingsey Road to move to the top of the National One standings.

Under the Friday night lights, almost 2,500 spectators watched on as Nick Easter’s side produced a brilliant performance to leapfrog their local rivals in the table.

Scrum-half Luke Carter and centre James Bourton scored tries in the first period, with Conor-Terrah Brockschmidt going over in the second half.

Rams – who began the evening in first position – had opened the scoring via Ben Atkins but couldn’t add to their tally as the best defence in the division restricted Seb Reynolds’ troops to a single try.

The Oxfordshire outfit have now won nine of their last 10 games and sit three points clear of Rams heading into the Christmas break.

Third-placed Plymouth Albion lost ground on the leading pair as two second-half tries from winger Noah Fenton sealed a terrific 29-24 victory for Taunton Titans at Veritas Park.

It was a significant victory for Tony Yapp’s side as they are now just two points from safety after Cinderford lost 25-20 to bottom-of-the-table Leicester Lions. Gareth Collins’ side capitalised on two quick-fire yellow cards shown to their Gloucestershire visitors to clinch an important fourth win of the campaign.

The other team currently in the bottom three – Sale FC – had their recent momentum stunted by Darlington Mowden Park, who recorded a 29-19 win to move into the top half of the division.

Like Taunton and Leicester Lions, Blackheath also secured a welcome victory as they narrowly beat Bishop’s Stortford 18-14 at Silver Leys.

Elsewhere, Sedgley Park have returned to fourth in the standings after roaring back in the second half to defeat Birmingham Moseley 32-36 while Henry Cheesman’s last-gasp try snatched a 22-18 win for Richmond over Rosslyn Park.

National Two North

Hull fought back to snatch a derby day 23-18 triumph against Hull Ionians at Brantingham Park following David Davidson’s late winner.

Three penalties via Reece Dean and a conversion from Liam Regardsoe’s try put Hull 16-8 up, with Lewis Minikin providing all of the points for the I’s.

The hosts then flipped the game in their favour as Sam Wilson’s try and the boot of Minikin moved them 18-16 ahead heading into the final 10 minutes, but the visitors from Chanterlands Avenue were able to respond.

After Dean was off target with a penalty, Hull soon worked the ball wide to Davidson who dived into the corner to end a run of three straight defeats for Mike Umaga’s side.

As for Hull Ionians, their wait for a victory increases to six matches but the bonus point they were able to collect moves them level with Billingham, who sit just above the bottom two after their 24-12 loss to an in-form Tynedale.

At the summit, Leeds Tykes’ superb season continued as after a two-week break, they surged to a 47-17 win away at Otley while three tries in the final 13 minutes ensured second-placed Rotherham Titans also secured a maximum as they beat Wharfedale 33-7 at Clifton Lane.

Sheffield are up to third as they maintained their very impressive recent form by seeing off near neighbours Sheffield Tigers 33-24 in the Steel City derby.

Also across National Two North, a Ben Gregory hat-trick helped Fylde edge past Preston Grasshoppers 33-27 and a Stephen Pilkington try 13 minutes from time nudged Lymm to a 33-24 victory and condemned bottom-of-the-table Huddersfield to a 10th successive loss.

National Two East

Josh Davies’ last-gasp penalty saw Barnes (3rd) overturn a nine-point deficit in the final three minutes to leave second-from-bottom Wimbledon crestfallen.

Having conceded early tries to Malek Touilzak and Paul Hendry, Barnes found themselves 10-0 down after 20 minutes but brought themselves back into the contest after a penalty as well as a converted Jack Hardie score.

A brilliantly taken try from Bradley Pinkham and a second from Hendry – either side of Simon Keller’s penalty – pushed the Dons into a 20-11 lead and it looked for all the world like they were going to record their third win of the campaign.

However, a converted Davies try on 77 minutes set up a grandstand finish and the full-back was able to keep his cool from the tee to seal an extremely hard-fought win for Jack Heald’s side.

Despite the heartbreaking loss, Wimbledon have moved to within three points of Worthing after their relegation rivals were beaten 29-18 by second-placed Dorking.

That bonus-point success for Dorking keeps them three points behind leaders Esher as a hat-trick from Harry Faulkner helped the table-toppers defeat a spirited Westcombe Park 43-36 – an eighth consecutive victory for the EEEs.

Bury St Edmunds’ Matt Bursey also helped himself to a trio of tries as Jacob Ford’s charges extended their unbeaten run to eight matches following a comfortable 45-5 win over bottom-of-the-table North Walsham.

Elsewhere, Henley Hawks’ own unbeaten streak of five games came to an end in Round 14 as Old Albanian battled to an excellent 27-24 win, fly-half Frank Reynolds scored 18 points to inspire Canterbury to a 28-24 derby day success against Tonbridge Juddians and Sevenoaks put two narrow away losses behind them to record a 22-17 victory over Guernsey Raiders.

National Two West

A late converted try from Will Luxford saw Old Redcliffans complete a stunning fightback to earn an 18-17 victory against league leaders Luctonians.

Caleb Montgomery crossed twice in the opening 14 minutes for Luctonians with Ben Link also touching down for a 17-3 lead.

The table-toppers held their advantage up until the final quarter where Old Reds managed to turn this contest right around. After both sides had received two yellow cards apiece, a second penalty from Ashley Groves was followed by Harry O’Donnell going over to reduce the arrears to six points.

And after coming from behind against Dudley Kingswinford last week, the men from Scotland Lane were at it again as Luxford stormed over with two minutes remaining before Groves held his nerve to land the all-important conversion.

Back-to-back losses for the first time since January means Lucs’ lead at the summit has been shaved to five points after second-placed Dings Crusaders had to settle for a 15-15 draw following a second-half response from rivals Clifton. Camborne (3rd) were also involved in a stalemate as a try five minutes from time saw Redruth snatch a 19-19 draw at the Recreation Ground.

With none of the top three sides winning in Round 14, Hinckley (4th) were able to capitalise as four tries in a 12-minute window helped them to a 41-28 victory over Loughborough Students while Chris Campbell’s side also extended their unbeaten run to seven games.

Elsewhere, Exeter University were 33-27 winners after a breathless contest against Hornets, Chester experienced similar by beating Newport (Salop) 36-34 while Dudley Kingswinford boosted their survival hopes with a priceless 17-3 victory over Bournville which lifted Neil Shillingford’s troops off the foot of the division.

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