Last Saturday our side travelled down to Loughborough to take on the University Students and despite conceding 14 points in the first few minutes they fought back very well for a final score of 22- 17 and despite having the better of the final quarter a resolute Students defence denied any more scoring and Hull had to settle for their losing bonus point. Both sides scored three tries with Hull’s coming from debutant full-back Steve McColl, prop Mike Jobling and hooker Ali Thomson, with Simon Humberstone adding one conversion.
Elsewhere in the division leaders Caldy had an emphatic home win when they beat Otley 50-12 after leading 22-7 at the break and scoring seven tries in the process; in what was an exciting game at Chester the home side looked good for the points when they led Sedgley Park 17-0 at the interval but Sedge came back very strongly in the second period to win 28-24 with a 79th minute converted try; second in the table Fylde travelled to Hinckley and after getting the try bonus point in the first 21 minutes led 29-7 at the break. Fylde were in no mood to ‘do a Chester’ and went on to score two further tries for a very good 43-7 away win.
In what was a high-scoring Yorkshire derby at Huddersfield visitors Wharfedale posted an excellent away win with a 40-30 victory which saw them score five tries to the home sides four; bottom side Scunthorpe visited Stourbridge and after trailing 33-5 at half-time made a better fist of the second before finally losing by 45-17. Stour scored three converted tries in the first five minutes and always looked the better side as they went on to score four further ones.
Sheffield Tigers entertained Luctonians at Dore Moor and after trailing 15-10 at the interval came back to win by 27-18 with veteran half-back Mark Ireland being voted man of the match with three conversions and two penalties. Finally, Tynedale had a very comfortable home win over Preston Grasshoppers by 34-5 after leading 20-0 at the break.
After all the dust had settled we find that there is no change at the top of the table with Caldy, Fylde and Sedgley Park leading a minor breakaway trio who have created a six point gap over the sides below them after just seven games played. There is also no change at the bottom with Scunthorpe still without a win, Luctonians with just one win and Hull with two wins and a draw to their credit. Hull are on thirteen points and the next four sides are between 13 and 17 points so it is much tighter in the nether regions.
This weekend’s games throw up a few tasty meetings and Fylde v Chester looks like a home win to me but another Yorkshire derby at Huddersfield sees Sheffield Tigers the visitors in a game where 11th take on 7th in a game which could go either way. Otley are at home to Loughborough Students where 10th meet 6th which is very similar but the ‘Hoppers v Stourbridge game is likely to see an away win.
In a bottom of the table clash Scunthorpe take on Hinckley, who have gone off the boil since they had a good win at Hull, but I fancy they will be too strong tomorrow. The game of the day has to be at Sedgley Park where Caldy are the visitors and a battle royal could be the outcome of this clash. Eighth playfifth at Wharfedale when Tynedale come to town and another close game could be the outcome of this one. Finally Hull v Luctonians sees 14th play 15th in a game which is vital to both side as they try to climb away from the bottom three. Over the years games between the two clubs have usually been very close and I think (I hope!) that home advantage will carry the day.
My three selections, for what they are worth, are Sedgley Park v Caldy, Huddersfield v Sheffield Tigers and Hull v Luctonians.
Enjoy your rugby wherever you are. Norman Angell