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Norman Angell’s league round-up

Last Saturday our club entertained Kirkby Lonsdale in our latest league fixture and posted their highest score of the season with a 57-5 victory which took them to the top of the table for the first time this season. Hull scored nine tries in the process and with five consecutive wins under their belt they are beginning to look the potent force they were last season. The match was a personal triumph for flying winger Steve Hihetah who made the most of some good approach work by his team mates to score four tries. Rupert Kay and Joe Stafford scored a couple each while full-back Lee Birch also joined in the fun with a first-half touch-down. The strong wind did not make things easy for the goal kickers but despite this Hull’s Steve Johnson landed six conversions, two of them from very wide out, as well as making two telling breaks which led to tries being scored.
Elsewhere in the division Alnwick won the battle between two newly-promoted sides when they beat visitors Vale of Lune 22-7 to post their third win of the season but Vale are really struggling with the pace of the higher level and have now lost all of their six games. Second placed Billingham had a very good home win over Wirral by 47-20 to post their fifth win of the season whilst Harrogate kept in the top four with a resounding 50-12 home win over newcomers Wilmslow, who are another side finding it hard to cope with promotion having won just one of their six games. ‘Gate scored eight tries in this win and are maintaining the good form they showed for all of last season.
Lymm won their third game of the season with a very comfortable 36-19 home win over Kendal and Rossendale did the same by beating visitors Ilkley by 38-22. Finally, in what turned out to be the match of the day, Sandal did ourselves a great favour be defeating the league leaders Blaydon in a thrilling game to the tune of 43-38, with the sides sharing eleven tries between them. In my programme notes for the KLon game I said I was hopeful for the home side to spring a surprise on the Geordies and they certainly came up with the goods!!
All this means that Blaydon have slipped down to third spot in the table on 23 points behind ourselves and Billingham who are both on 25 points. We have a scoring difference of +123 to Billingham’s +58. Harrogate are fourth with 22 points. Down at the bottom Vale of Lune have just 2 points behind Wilmslow on 6 and Kendal on 8.
This week’s fixtures bring up some interesting games and top of the list is at Blaydon where the third-placed side host the second-placed Billingham. This is certainly a North-East derby and should be a tremendous game. Sixth play ninth when Ilkley entertain Alnwick; fourth-place Harrogate travel to lowly Kendal and bottom side Vale of Lune will not be looking forward to the visit of Hull. Second from bottom Wilmslow entertain fifth-placed Sandal and what should be a very tight game indeed is at Wirral where eighth play seventh-placed Rossendale.
Norman Angell

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