The jeopardy in National League Rugby is why we love levels three and four, and Round 15 may have provided a cluster of teams with something to build on over the next few weeks. (Martin Gray Photography)

National One

Leicester Lions gave their survival hopes a serious boost in Round 15 after clinching a 29-27 win away at Blackheath.

Gareth Collins’ side had entered the Christmas break following an important victory against Cinderford and they returned to action by backing up that success meaning they are now four points from safety.

The Midlands club had begun the afternoon bottom of the table, but Luke Bouchier’s try eight minutes from time ensured the Lions climbed the standings.

The visitors did lead 19-10 at the break with Jamel Hamilton, James Stubbs and Dan Lewis all crossing while a Markus Burcham try and a penalty from Matt Dalrymple got Blackheath on the board.

Charlie Davies stretched Leicester Lions’ lead with their bonus-point score but three tries in a five-minute window saw ‘Club’ overturn a 14-point deficit

Will Harding, Burcham and Jake Lloyd all crossed to put Blackheath 27-24 in front but the Lions weren’t flustered and they hit back on 72 minutes through Bouchier to seal their fifth win of the campaign.

Cinderford also recorded a timely victory as they look to move away from danger. A late, converted Joe Mullis try completed a second-half fightback and it leaves Paul Morris’ troops five points clear of the bottom three.

Taunton remain in the relegation places after narrowly losing 22-21 to Richmond, but the Titans did miss a possible chance to snatch the win with Francisco Diaz Dart’s late penalty just missing the target.

Sale FC have dropped to the foot of the division after they lost 47-10 to league leaders Chinnor. Centre Morgan Passman scored a hat-trick as the table-toppers clinched a sixth success on the bounce while second-placed Rams returned to winning ways at the first time of asking as they collected a 28-7 win against Sedgley Park.

Elsewhere, Plymouth Albion (3rd) made it seven straight home victories as they defeated Bishop’s Stortford 39-23 while a hat-trick from Benji Marfo helped Rosslyn Park battle to a 33-32 triumph away at Birmingham Moseley, with the hosts missing a last-minute conversion which would have stolen the win.

National Two North

National Two North leaders Leeds Tykes made it a superb 15 wins out of 15 as they cruised to a 66-15 victory over Hull Ionians.

Charlie Venables, Seremaia Turagabeci, Jacob Mounsey and Aarin Yorke crossed for the Tykes to make it 24-8, with Lewis Minikin providing the points for the I’s.

The dazzling table-toppers ran in six more tries after the interval via Yorke (2), Kieran Davies (2), Mounsey and Will Hardwick while Sam Pocklington got a consolation for the away side.

The aforementioned Davies also kicked eight conversions to take his individual points tally to 26 for the afternoon.

This was another brilliant display by Pete Seabourne’s side – who have dropped just one point all term – but second-placed Rotherham Titans are continuing to keep them honest.

Gareth Lewis’ charges sealed a fourth maximum on the trot by beating Lymm 36-22 and it keeps the men from Clifton Lane six points behind Leeds Tykes.

Sheffield (3rd) and Fylde (4th) were also able to continue their momentum but in differing ways. The Yorkshire outfit just about extended their winning streak to seven games after defeating Preston Grasshoppers 26-24, but the hosts did miss a late conversion which would have claimed a share of the spoils. As for Fylde, it was more comfortable in their 38-25 success away at Billingham as they recorded their sixth bonus-point success from their last seven matches.

Elsewhere, bottom-of-the-table Huddersfield could only add a try bonus point to their survival bid after being comprehensively beaten 60-26 by Hull and a solid kicking display from Will Baker saw Sheffield Tigers end a three-match losing streak as they saw off Otley 24-16.

Following the tragic loss of Tynedale’s Rory Cramb on Christmas Eve, the club’s fixture with Wharfedale – which was scheduled for Saturday (i.e. the day after Rory’s funeral) – was postponed as a mark of respect. Our thoughts and condolences continue to be with Rory’s family, friends and everyone connected to Tynedale.

National Two East

Guernsey Raiders ended a run of three home defeats by recording an important 29-24 victory over Tonbridge Juddians, with Ciaran McGann scoring 14 points for the hosts.

Tries from TJ’s Howard Packman and Charlie Self cancelled out a penalty from McGann as well as Hugo Culverhouse’s score, but Guernsey produced a quick-fire response before the break.

A second for Culverhouse was swiftly followed by a beautiful try from Tom Teasdale to put the Raiders 22-14 in front.

McGann then added to that advantage by converting his own score and despite Packman and Alex Brown going over for TJs, the home side were able to negotiate the final quarter to record their first triumph at Footes Lane since the beginning of October.

The result leaves Guernsey six points clear of the bottom two after Wimbledon also claimed a crucial victory in Round 15. Collin Osborne’s troops defeated Westcombe Park 21-17 away from home to end a nine-match losing run and it moves them level on points with Worthing.

Worthing – who sit just above the dreaded dotted line – were beaten by Barnes (4th) who returned to winnings by securing a 49-26 success. There were also victories for the top three with Esher, Dorking and Bury St Edmunds all registering maximums.

In a superb advert for National League Rugby, Esher (1st) edged past Canterbury 36-34 to extend their winning run to nine games while Dorking (2nd) were also made to work hard for their 59-33 win over bottom-of-the-table North Walsham.

As for third-placed Bury St Edmunds, two tries in the final 10 minutes saw them seal a 26-14 bonus-point win over Henley Hawks which stretched their unbeaten sequence to 10 matches.

Elsewhere, Old Albanian centre Sam Jones steered his side to a 32-29 win over Sevenoaks thanks to a late conversion and a match-winning penalty.

National Two West

Hornets ended their 11-month wait for an away win in National Two West with a significant 33-12 victory over bottom-of-the-table Newport (Salop).

Hayden Tuttiett and George Timmins crossed either side of a penalty try for Hornets, who led 21-7 at the interval.

Kieran Forbes had gone over for the hosts, but the next try didn’t occur until the 72nd minute when Sam Taylor dotted down for Hornets to end any hopes of a Newport revival.

A second for Timmins sealed the deal for Jon Richardson’s men while Finley Barnes’ late try was merely a consolation for the home side.

The result for Hornets has moved them 12 points clear of the relegation places whilst a seventh straight defeat for Newport leaves them 13 points adrift of safety.

Like Hornets, Bournville also created some breathing space between themselves and the bottom two after an impressive 37-26 win over Old Redcliffians while Dudley Kingswinford couldn’t add to their survival bid in Round 15 as they were put to the sword by Loughborough Students who racked up a 70-0 victory.

At the right end of the table, league leaders Luctonians returned to winning ways thanks to a solid 35-17 success over Redruth and they remain five points clear at the summit after Dings Crusaders (2nd) surged to a 50-7 triumph over Chester to extend their unbeaten run to 10 games.

There was also some shuffling in the top six with Hinckley moving up to third and Clifton rising to fourth. The Midlands club are now undefeated in eight matches after beating Exeter University 41-36 away from home while a hat-trick from scrum-half Mitch Spencer helped Clifton to a 38-29 win at Camborne.

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