The top two in National One both fell to late and dramatic defeats in Round 13 as the title race was blown wide open on the weekend. (Photo Credit: Paul Clark)
Richmond have moved back to the summit of the division, despite losing right at the death against Plymouth Albion at the Athletic Ground.
Steve Hill’s men are one point clear of Rosslyn Park, who conceded two penalty tries in the final three minutes against third-placed Rams as they fell to a defeat in Berkshire.
The Rams are now just two points behind league leaders Richmond as are Blackheath, who comfortably beat Rotherham Titans.
In fact, the top 10 in National One are only separated by 10 points after Cinderford, Chinnor, Old Elthamians, Sale FC and Bishop’s Stortford all picked up excellent wins, respectively.
Richmond 30-31 Plymouth Albion
Richmond have moved back to the top of National One, despite falling to their third defeat in a row against Plymouth Albion.
Josh Skelcey’s late try completed a remarkable turnaround for Albion, who had trailed 27-7 after 55 minutes.
Richmond seemed set on returning to winning ways following successive defeats thanks to tries from Jeremy Cunnew, Dan Kelly, Cam Michell and Louis Molloy.
Just one of the tries from our win at Richmond this weekend!!
Geddon @JSkelcey 😂😂
— Plymouth Albion (@AlbionRFC) December 1, 2019
A penalty try was all Plymouth could muster up in the first period, but the second half of this match belonged to the visitors.
Joe Snow got the ball rolling before Jamie Salter and Skelecy both dotted down to cut Richmond’s lead to just a single point.
Tom Hodgson steadied the ship for the hosts with a penalty, but they were to be left shell-shocked come full-time as Skelcey pounced on a loose ball to snatch an outstanding victory for Albion.
Rams RFC 27-20 Rosslyn Park
Rams RFC overturned a 14-point deficit to defeat Rosslyn Park which added yet another twist to an enthralling National One title race.
Park led 14-0 after 25 minutes following a penalty try and a score from Arthur Ellis as the visitors capitalised on two Rams yellow-cards.
Having endured a tough first period, Rams were able to respond before the break as Tom Vooght dotted down and both sides exchanged penalties at the beginning of the second half.
Niall Kidd then crossed for the home side, but a second Henry Leonard penalty made sure Park held a seven-point advantage heading into the final 10 minutes.
However, their five-match unbeaten run was to be halted as two penalty tries in the last three minutes secured a sensational win for Rams, who are now just two points off the top.
Blackheath 33-17 Rotherham Titans
Blackheath strengthened their National One title credentials with a bonus-point win over struggling Rotherham Titans.
Jake Lloyd and Mike Perks went over for Blackheath in the first half, whilst Ben Robbins crossed for the visitors and Sam Hollingsworth also landed a penalty.
Perks’ second try extended Blackheath’s lead just before the hour and Jack Daly then finished off an excellent ‘Club’ move to ultimately seal victory.
The Titans did respond as Hollingsworth converted his own try, but this win for Blackheath leaves them just two points from the summit.
Cinderford 24-18 Old Elthamians
Cinderford are very much in the hunt for top spot in National One following a bonus-point win against Old Elthamians.
The hosts led 24-12 at the break with Joe Mullis, Sam Smith and Ed Sheldon going over as Cinderford punished OEs’ indiscipline.
Cinderford 24 @ElthamiansRFC 18 , well played boys
— Cinderford RFC 🌲🏉 (@cinderfordrfc) November 30, 2019
Tom Concu had been yellow-carded for the visitors, but before that, OEs did have the lead following scores from Austin Hay and Adam Batt.
The away side started to mount a comeback before the hour as two Ollie Bryant penalties moved them to within a converted score, but Cinderford’s defence wasn’t to be breached again at Paul Morris’ side held out for the victory.
Chinnor 34-22 Cambridge
Chinnor stretched their unbeaten run to five matches as a bonus-point win over Cambridge leaves the Black and Whites just five points behind league leaders Richmond.
First-half tries from Josh McNulty, Jason Worrall and Sam Yawayawa helped Chinnor into a 19-7 lead at the break after Matt Hema had opened the scoring for Cambridge.
Joe Tarrant took advantage of Carl Kirwan’s yellow-card to reduce Chinnor’s advantage to seven points before both teams swapped tries as Worrall’s second was swiftly followed by Mike Mayhew crossing for Cambridge.
However, the hosts won it thanks to a Laurence May penalty and a score from Nick Selway, whilst another Mayhew try earned Cambridge a bonus-point from their trip to Oxfordshire.
Darlington Mowden Park 66-8 Birmingham Moseley
Darlington Mowden Park produced a glittering second-half display as they secured their second home win on the bounce against Birmingham Moseley.
The home side ran in six tries in the second-half, with winger Morgan Passman scoring on three occasions to add to his effort in the first 40.
📻 ICYMI 📻 Head Coach Garry Law caught up with BBC's Ian Smith after Saturday's high scoring win over Moseley!
— Darlington Mowden Park (@MowdenPark) December 2, 2019
Euan McKirdy, Callum Irvine and Warren Seals also crossed whilst David Nelson and Ollie Walker had initially got the ball rolling for DMP.
Moseley scored through Aquile Smith in the first period, but that was as good as it got on a tough afternoon for the Midlands club.
Hull Ionians 7-36 Sale FC
Tom Brady scored a hat-trick as Sale FC brushed aside Hull Ionians to secure their first away win since the opening month of the season.
A brace from Brady in the first half helped Sale establish a 31-7 lead at the interval with Andy Hughes, Fergus Mulchrone and Ollie Longmore also crossing the whitewash.
An excellent score from Lewis Minikin got the hosts on the board, but Brady’s third was the icing on the cake for Sale who are beginning to build some momentum.
Bishop’s Stortford 43-0 Canterbury
Tom Lewis crossed on two occasions as Bishop’s Stortford cruised to a victory over bottom of the table Canterbury.
The impressive lock scored twice in the second period as Stortford pulled clear of their visitors, who are still searching for their first win of the campaign.
Scores from Mike Ayrton, Will Roberts, Josh Stannard and Sam Cappaert completed a very satisfying afternoon for Stortford, with Tom Banks and Aaron Pope sharing the conversions.