Last Saturday, our side took on Midlands side Hinckley at the Ferens Ground and a very even first half saw Hull trailing 12-10 at half-time. They took a 13-12 lead just after the break but the visitors gained the upper hands for the remainder of the match to run out convincing winners by 36-18, although the 12 points scored by the visitors in the final ten minutes did not reflect the effort put in by Hull throughout the game. Hull lost Simon Humberstone in the first half and Tom O’Donnell in the second through injuries but the good news is that Simon may be out for two games and Tom is in the squad to play Chester on Saturday. Hull’ tries came from Ali Heard and Latu Makaafi with Humberstone adding a conversion and substitute Reece Dean kicked two penalty goals. Hull dropped from fourth to sixth as a result of this game.
Elsewhere in the division second in the table Fylde scored six tries in their 40-10 home win over lowly Huddersfield who have yet to win a game but have two draws to their credit and league leaders Caldy had a very tough game at Loughborough where the students led 10-9 at the break. The second half was equally close as Caldy held out for a 33-28 win. Strangely enough the only bonus point went to the Students as both sides scored three tries.
Another very close game was at Luctonians where the home side trailed 19-0 at home to Chester but they rallied in the second half to give the visitors a bit of a fright before Chester ran out winners by 24-20, including a winning bonus point for their four tries against the two for Lucs. Otley entertained Stourbridge in yet another tight game where Stour led by 14-13 at the break and maintained their lead to win the game by 31-27 with both sides securing a bonus point each.
In what seems a very dour fixture at Preston, which was described in the Rugby Paper as ‘an entertaining and dogged match’ the ‘Hoppers scraped the narrowest win of the day with a 10-9 victory, although Sheffield Tigers led 9-7 until the 70th minute before a penalty goal gave the home side the spoils.
In the battle of the Greens at Scunthope the home side went down to a well organised Wharfedale side to the tune of 24-5 and were not helped by conceding two penalty tries to the well-drilled Wharfe set of forwards. Sedgley Park were at home to Tynedale and in a tough game, played in torrential rain Tynedale shocked the home crowd with a 14-7 away win after leading 7-0 at the break.
With the exception of the first, second and last bit one games, last Saturday’s results show just how tight this division is. Caldy and Fylde, followed closely by Stourbridge, are at the top whilst in the nether regions Scunthorpe, Huddersfield and Otley have yet to post their first win of the season.
This week’s fixtures again offer up some possible very tight games and one or two possible ‘shoe ins’ and we start with what should be a good home win when league leaders Caldy host 13th placed side Luctonians. Chester v Hull where 7th play 6th is one of my three games of the day and Hinckley (9th) are on a bit of a roll and should beat visitors Otley (14th) The bottom two sides in the division clash at the majestic Lockwood Park where home side Huddersfield should be too strong for new boys Scunthorpe. This is my second choice game of the day.
My third choice is at ‘Dour’ Moor where Sheffield tigers are at home to Loughborough Students in an 8th v 12th clash which should see a home win. 10th placed Tynedale take on 2ndplaced Fylde and after their shock win at Sedgley Park, Tyne will fancy their chances but my money would be on an away win this time. Finally, a Roses Derby at Wharfedale sees Preston Grasshoppers the visitors in a game where 11th take on 5th. I think the Dalesmen will just scrape a win here with their strong support behind them.
Wherever you are, enjoy your rugby. Norman Angell.