Relegation battles take further twists across National Leagues
The first round of rearranged fixtures was also going to be important for sides fighting for survival across the National Leagues and there was joy for four teams battling to avoid the drop.
In National One, Blaydon picked up an excellent victory over Birmingham Moseley to stay a point clear of the drop zone while Hull Ionians stayed hot on the heels of the north-east side after overcoming relegation rivals Macclesfield.
Blaydon 25-12 Birmingham Moseley
Blaydon took a huge step towards saftey in National One as they secured a superb victory over Birmingham Moseley.
Jason Smithson opened the scoring at Crow Trees and the hosts held a slender 7-5 advantage at half-time as Adam Caves crossed for Moseley.
Dan Marshall went over to put Blaydon back in front at the start of the second period, but Moseley responsed yet again as Ed Sheldon glided over to level the scores.
However, Blaydon would have the final say as they nudged over a penalty before Marshall claimed his second try to keep Blaydon outside the relegation zone.
Hull Ionians 45-21 Macclesfield
Hull Ionians remain just a point adrift of saftey in National One after they outclassed Macclesfield in an entertaining relegaton battle at Brantingham Park.
Phil Eggleshaw and Aquile Smith both scored braces while Ali Thompson and Sam Wilson also crossed for the I’s.
Macclesfield’s Matt King had opened the scoring, but his side could only manage two further tries in the match with King crossing for a second and Francis Barker also joining him.
National Two North
Preston Grasshoppers 21-5 Leicester Lions
Preston Grasshoppers moved off the bottom of National Two North with a tremendous victory over Leicester Lions.
Corey Logan powered over on the stroke of half-time to help Hoppers into a 13-0 lead with Lewis Allen kicking eight points.
Winger Niall Crossly fizzed in for a third score early in the second period on the 4G surface at Lightfoot Green.
Allen slotted over another penalty before Leicester replacement Ollie Tapscott crossed for a consoltion try for the visitors late on.
Wharfedale 27-3 Tynedale
Wharfedale moved further away from the relegation places in National Two North thanks to a comprehensive victory against Tynedale.
Tries from Dan Stockdale and Jamie Guy helped the hosts lead 12-3 at the break before Lewis Wilson and Josh Burridge (2) crossed in the second half.
Tynedale’s points came from Ash Smith in the first period as the north-east side fell to their first away defeat in seven matches.
National Two South
Bishop’s Stotford 46-30 Canterbury
Bishop’s Stortford moved to the top of National Two South after battling to a hard-fought win against Canterbury.
Tries by Tom Coleman, Johnny Neville, Will Simmonds, Tom Banks and Jimmy Rea put Stortford nine points ahead at the break with Kieran Thompson and Guy Hilton crossing for Canterbury.
Stortford continued to stay in control in tricky conditions as Matt Tomlinson opened the second half scoring before Banks and Will Hilton exchanged penalties.
Dan Elsom was yellow carded just before Hilton’s penalty and the away side took further advnatge of the extra man as they were awarded a Penalty Try to reduce Stortford’s lead once again.
However, any signs of a Canterbury comeback were ended by Neville who went over for his second score of the game as Andy Long’s men returned to the summit of this division.
Worthing Raiders 21-51 Old Elthamians
Old Elthamians remain firmly in the hunt for a top two finish in National Two South after an emphatic win against struggling Worthing Raiders.
OE’s ran in seven tries to secure a bonus point as they battled back to dominate the final 30 minutes of this encounter.
A hat-trick from Dominic Lespierre plus scores from Will Robinson, George Meesum and a Penalty Try helped OEs to a fourth straight victory.
Worthing had been 21-20 up after 50 minutes with Ben Loosmore and Dino Lamb both crossing, but the Raiders couldn’t muster up any further scores in the remainder of the half. This defeat now leaves them four points adrift of saftey.
Henley Hawks 18-16 Barnes
A late George Jackson penalty saw Henley Hawks complete an excellent comeback against 14-men Barnes at Dry Leas.
Barnes had led 16-0 at the break thanks to a Robbie Martey try and three penalties from Tom O’Toole but the hosts fought back in the second period.
With 25 minutes remaining, David Butler was red-carded for the visitors after kicking out at a Hawks player and Henley captalised on their man advantage.
Tom Emery and a quick-fire brace from Tom Hall saw the home side move to within a point of their opponents and two minutes from the end, Jackson landed his first successful kick of the match to clinch the win for the Hawks.