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Norman’s first league round-up of 2019

The last round of fixtures played on December 15th saw Hull make the long journey to the Wirral to take on Wirral RUFC who could boast a hitherto unbeaten home record for this season. Playing into a very strong wind on a bitterly cold day Hull built up a 12-3 interval before taking total control in the second period to run out winners by 40-3.  Tries came from Steve Hihetah, Joe Stafford, Steve Johnson and Rob Watts, with Steve Humberstone landing three conversions. Wirral also conceded two penalty tries, indicative of their inability to cope with the power of the Hull pack whilst very rarely threatening the Hull line.

Elsewhere in the division Billingham soon got over their 49-7 defeat at the Ferens the previous week when they convincingly beat fifth-placed Harrogate by 44-24; in the Northumbrian derby at Alnwick today’s visitors posted a very good 47-22 win and in a Yorkshire derby at Ilkley the Dalesmen beat Sandal by 22-5. In yet another derby, this time a Cumbrian one, Kendal beat visitors Kirkby Lonsdale by just 13-11 in a real nail-biter of a game; Lymm travelled up to Rossendale and forced a very creditable 15-15 draw and in a bottom of the table clash between Wilmslow and Vale of Lune another tight game ended with a 7-7 draw.

All of this means that there is no change at the top of the table with Hull on 64 points, Billingham on 55 and Blaydon on 54. There is a definite breakaway here with Blaydon a full 8 points clear of fourth-placed Rossendale. At the bottom the position is still the same with Wilmslow on 10 points, Vale of Lune on 15 and Kendal on 22. The gap here is much narrower with

Kendal still three points behind Lymm who are eleventh but both are well behind tenth-placed Alnwick who are on 33 points

The pick of today’s games has to be the one we will be seeing this afternoon, with Hull keen to extend their 13 match unbeaten record and Blaydon equally keen to end it and avenge the result of September 15th. What should be another good match is at Harrogate where Rossendale are the visitors and where fifth take on fourth with only two points separating them. Finally Vale of Lune entertain Kendal in a relegation battle with points very important to both clubs.

Other fixtures are at Alnwick where the tenth play bottom side Wilmslow; Kirkby Lonsdale where ninth take on Ilkley who are sixth; Lymm v Wirral where eleventh play seventh and second-placed Billingham travel to eighth-placed Sandal. Some interesting clashes in those fixtures with some vital league points to play for.

Norman Angell

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