The latest side to boost their survival hopes in National One were Cinderford with Hull Ionians doing similar in National Two North while over in National Two West, a new layer was added to this thrilling promotion battle. (Photo Credit: Nigel Miller / Kairos Sports Photography)

National One

Cinderford (12th) staved off a second-half rally from Richmond (6th) to secure a 40-34 bonus-point win and boost their survival hopes.

The Forest of Dean club had seen an 11-point cushion disappear going into the final 10 minutes but the hosts hit back to seal a crucial victory.

Chidera Obonna, Ntinga Mpiko and Alex O’Meara all crossed to put Richmond 34-30 ahead but Harry Edwards’ converted try and the trusty boot of Joe Winfield guided Cinderford home.

Paul Morris’ troops led 23-12 at the break with Sam Smith and Will Baldwin touching down while Winfield – who amassed 18 points across the course of the afternoon – nailed both conversions as well as three penalties.

Luc Jones and Alex Post had gone over for Richmond but despite their resurgence in the second 40, they weren’t able to earn their sixth away win of the term.

The victory for Cinderford means they are out of the bottom two and two points clear of danger while rivals Bishop’s Stortford (13th) dropped back into the relegation places following their 27-21 loss to Rosslyn Park (4th).

Taunton Titans remain bottom of the standings and they are now six points from safety after they were hammered 80-10 by league leaders Chinnor at Kingsey Road.

There were better fortunes for both Leicester Lions (11th) and Sale FC (10th) who took another step away from the dreaded dotted line. The Lions secured a solid 36-17 win over Sedgley Park (9th) while Oskar Hirskyji-Douglas’ try two minutes from time rubber-stamped a 37-31 win for Sale over third-placed Birmingham Moseley.

Elsewhere, Rams RFC (2nd) maintained their steely focus in the title race as they secured all five points in a 28-14 away success at Darlington Mowden Park (7th) while Blackheath (8th) celebrated winger Jake Lloyd’s 200th game for the club by recording a third straight win as they beat Plymouth Albion (5th) 34-12 at Well Hall.

National Two North

Hull Ionians (12th) clinched arguably their most important result of the season as they defeated Lymm (10th) 31-19 to end their 12-match winless run.

Both sides scored tries in the first half but it was the hosts who led at the break thanks to a brace from Sam Wilson while Lymm responded via Stephen Pilkington.

Lewis Minikin and Cashel Chilvers traded scores before Charlie Kirk’s try kept Hull Ionians in the ascendancy. Nathan Beesley pulled one back for Lymm but Joe Makin’s side had done enough to seal a very welcome victory.

The result for the Yorkshire outfit lifts them five points clear of danger, with Billingham (13th) falling back into the bottom two after they were outclassed 57-13 by league leaders Leeds Tykes who recorded their 20th successive win.

Leeds’ title rivals – Rotherham Titans (2nd) – are continuing to do all they can in this promotion battle as they notched a 34-13 win away at Otley (9th). Gareth Lewis’ men remain 11 points behind the Tykes with a game in hand, which they will fulfil this coming Saturday against bottom-of-the-table Huddersfield.

Speaking of Huddersfield, there was more heartache for the men from Lockwood Park as Fylde (5th) scored 17 unanswered points in the final quarter to complete a remarkable 34-32 comeback.

Meanwhile, Sheffield (3rd) returned to winning ways at the first time of asking as an inspired second-half display helped them beat Tynedale (7th) 27-19, city rivals Sheffield Tigers (6th) also experienced a home victory as they edged past 12th-placed Preston Grasshoppers 32-26 and Hull (8th) made it three wins in a row as they defeated Wharfedale (4th) 21-10.

National Two East

A stunning fightback from 24-0 down saw Worthing Raiders (12th) move five points clear of the bottom two after sealing a superb 32-31 win over Bury St Edmunds (4th).

Fred Pierrepont’s charges had a mountain to climb after just 27 minutes as Fin McCartney, Ben Kelland and Oliver Saddleton all crossed for Bury, while Ben Penfold’s nine points gave the visitors the 24-0 lead.

But Worthing flicked a switch and scores from Caleb Ashworth and Will Gearing-Grief brought them back into the contest before the break.

The home side then scored 22 points on the bounce as a penalty try followed by efforts from Ed Grinsted, Curtis Barnes and Ben Featherstone put them eight points in front with less than 10 points remaining.

Penfold had earlier missed two penalty opportunities but pinged over a conversion off the back of Patrick Robinson’s late try to confirm two bonus points for the visitors.

But it was all about Worthing who claimed their fifth win of the season and yet again, they’ve swapped places in the standings with Wimbledon (13th) who lost 30-22 against Henley Hawks (5th).

At the top, league leaders Esher made it 13 victories in a row but they had to battle hard against Sevenoaks (10th) for their latest 41-31 success. The win for Peter Winterbottom’s side keeps them five points clear with a game in hand as both Barnes (2nd) and Dorking (3rd) picked up maximums.

Barnes recorded a sixth victory in a row as they beat Guernsey Raiders (11th) 36-21 while Dorking dominated proceedings against Old Albanian (9th) to seal a 50-24 home success.

Elsewhere, three tries in the opening 10 minutes set Tonbridge Juddians (6th) on their way to a 45-17 victory against bottom-of-the-table North Walsham while a 27-14 triumph over Canterbury (8th) lifted Westcombe Park (7th) into the top half.

National Two West

Dings Crusaders (2nd) have changed the dynamic in the National Two West title race as they defeated league leaders Luctonians 17-8 at Mortimer Park.

Dings took a narrow lead into the break after England U20s prop James Halliwell finished off an eye-catching move in response to Owen Randell’s earlier penalty for the hosts.

Oscar Lennon and Ben Link then swapped tries as the Crusaders maintained their fourth-point advantage but the decisive moment came 13 minutes from time as Tom Hargan scampered over to secure a huge win for the visitors.

The result for Stean Williams and Luke Arscott’s men means they have cut Luctonians’ lead at the top to two points with just six games in the season remaining.

National Two West – Title Race – Remaining Fixtures

Luctonians (1st) – 83pts: Camborne (A) 6th, Clifton (H) 4th, Chester (A) 10th, Hornets (H) 11th, Hinckley (A) 5th, Dudley Kingwinsford (H) 13th

Dings (2nd) – 81pts: Bournville (H) 12th, Loughborough (A) 9th, Exeter University (H) 3rd, Newport (Salop) (A) 14th, Redruth (H) 8th, Camborne (H) 6th

At the bottom, Dudley Kingswinford (13th) have breathed new life into their survival bid as an excellent 80-minute performance saw them defeat Clifton (4th) 33-27.

Neil Shillingford’s men are technically now nine points from safety as they are currently aiming to be the 13th-placed team with the best playing record across the three National Two leagues, a position currently held by Wimbledon in National Two East.

While DK have reignited their hopes, the same can’t be said for Newport (Salop) (14th) who lost 57-17 at Bournville (12th) which leaves them 11 points from safety.

Elsewhere, Hornets (12th) had to settle for a 17-17 draw away at Redruth (8th) as Tommy Phillips’ converted try deep into time added on snatched a share of the spoils for the Cornwall outfit.

Also across National Two West, Loughborough Students (9th) continued their superb recent, home form as they came from behind to defeat old foes Exeter University (3rd) 38-31.

That same scoreline applied to Chester (10th) as a late try from prop Josh Woods helped them to an away win at Hinckley (5th) while Old Redcliffians (7th) ran in seven tries to earn a 47-15 victory over Camborne (6th) as they stretched their winning run at Scotland Lane to seven games.

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