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How the league looks after 3 weeks

Last Saturday our side made the long journey down to Stourbridge RFC, a side we played on six occasions in our previous six year spell in National Two North. During that spell Stourbridge won all six games, but on this occasion the spell was broken, the monkey is off our backs, as the boys continued their very good start to the season with a well-earned 19-14 victory. We are now still unbeaten after our three opening games and during those games we have proved that we are well capable of competing at the higher level and that we are not just in N2N for the ride.
The game itself was very close with both sides scoring two tries but the three penalty goals landed by Simon Humberstone added to the tries from Latu Makaafi and Reece Dean made us narrow, but well deserved winners.
The Rugby Paper headline said “Powerful pack the difference for the visitors” and as Stour are well-known for their strong forward play, that said it all. Three games played, eleven points and fourth in the table, even Gary Pearce must be satisfied with that opening!!
Elsewhere in the table, another close game at Chester saw the home side beat Loughborough Students by 29-23, coming back from 12-20 down to take five points from the game and post their first win of the season. Another side posting their opening win were Hinckley who won a tight home victory over newly-promoted Luctonians by 23-17 which will give them some impetus for their visit to the Ferens Ground this weekend. The gate was a massive 680, I hope some of them come to the Ferens Ground on Saturday! In a high-scoring game at Preston the ‘Hoppers scored seven tries in a 48-24 win over new boys Scunthorpe, who also scored five tries. Will Robinson, the former Hull winger got a try for Scunthorpe while Jordan Dorrington, brother of former Hull player Ben scored for the ‘Hoppers.
Huddersfield are still without a win after losing at home to Sedgley Park by 25-10 and will be getting just a bit worried after their two previous good seasons, but it is early days yet and no doubt they will come strong soon.  After two opening wins Sheffield Tigers came down to earth with a bang when they were beaten at their Dore Moor ground by newly relegated Caldy, who already look a formidable side to take on.  Caldy crossed five times in this impressive away win.
In what must have been a thrilling game to watch up at Tynedale v Otley, Tyne scored six tries to five before the game ended in a 34-34 draw before a gate of 550.  Any neutrals among the crowd would have enjoyed this try-fest immensely, while it would have been ‘twitchy-bum’ time for both sets of club supporters. Finally, Fylde retained their unbeaten opening with a very good away win at Wharfedale where they beat the Dalesmen by 32-19 before a crowd of 523.
The league placings after three opening games show Caldy at the top with 14 points, Sedgley Park are on 13, Fylde are on 12 and Hull and Stourbridge are both on 11. At the bottom Scunthorpe are on 3, Huddersfield are on 4 with Hinckley and Wharfedale on 5. At this early stage in the season things could change very quickly, and most probably will do.
This week’s fixtures show some very interesting clashes and, based on their league placings only, my three to take notice of are;
Preston Grasshoppers v Sheffield Tigers where seventh take on sixth; Luctonians v Chester, where tenth entertain ninth and down at the bottom, Scunthorpe v Wharfedale, where sixteenth clash with thirteenth.
Where ever you are, enjoy your rugby.
Norman Angell.

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