Well it had to happen. After eight matches with only one draw to show for it Hull RUFC posted an amazing away win at league leaders Fylde with a 22-20 victory. Hull’s tries came from Mike Adlard (2) and Steve McColl with two conversions and a penalty goal from Reece Dean. After trailing 20-12 at the break Hull prevented the home side from scoring any more points to claim a very well-earned win.
Elsewhere in the division a very entertaining game at Lockwood Park saw Huddersfield and Chester share the spoils with a 27-27 draw with both sides scoring three converted tries and two penalties each. Preston Grasshoppers lost their fourth consecutive game when they were beaten 34-21 at home to Loughborough Students who led 24-0 at the break and had already secured the try bonus point. The ‘Hoppers came back strongly in the second half but could not overcome the large lead that the Students had built up.
In the game between the bottom two sides at Scunthorpe the home side were well beaten by visitors Luctonians who scored five tries in a 40-8 victory after leading 26-3 at half-time. Scunthorpe have now lost all of their eleven matches and are now thirteen points adrift of the side above them. After their close win at Hull the previous week Sedgley Park were in uncompromising mood against visitors Otley, scoring seven tries in an emphatic 47-19 victory.
Sheffield Tigers have been winning by close margins recently and their visit to Stourbridge was no exception in a match they won by 20-17 after a very close game. Stour had a chance to level the scores with a penalty with the last kick of the match but the shot was wide of the target. In a very tight and close match at Wharfedale the Dalesmen gave second-placed Caldy a tough time before losing 16-11. Finally, a cracking game up at Tynedale between two very well-matched sides saw the home side beat Hinckley by 20-15. The sides were locked at 15-15 before centre Will Miller scored an unconverted try in the 73rd minute to give Tyne the points.
The positions at both ends of the table have slightly changed after Fylde’s defeat has seen Caldy return to the top with a game in hand, with Sedgley Park still in third place. At the other end Hull have moved out of the bottom three at the expense of Preston Grasshoppers who are in the bottom three for the first time this season in 15th position.
This week-end’s fixtures begin with new league leaders Caldy at home to 12th placed Huddersfield and are likely to consolidate their position at the top. Chester at home to Tynemouth could be close in a match between 8th and 5th but a cracking game is in prospect when Stourbridge visit Hinckley in a Midlands derby game. With only two places separating the sides home advantage could prove to be vital in this clash.
After their morale-boosting win at Fylde, Hull will be in no mood to slip up against Scunthorpe at the Ferens Ground in the first-ever league encounter between the two clubs. The fact it is a Humberside derby fixture gives the game an extra bit of spice. Loughborough Students take on Wharfedale in a 6th v 11th fixture and the home side will probably start favourites but the Students will be aware of Wharfe’s great show against Caldy last Saturday.
Otley take on second-placed Fylde at Cross Green and after their heavy defeat at Sedgley Park last week the home side will be wary of a Fylde back-lash in this game. Finally, the match of the day must be at Dore Moor, the home of Sheffield Tigers, where Sedgley Park are the visitors in a 4th v 3rd fixture. This game has all the makings of a thriller and will be well worth watching.
My three to watch are Tigers v Sedge, Hinckley v Stourbridge and Luctonians v ‘Hoppers.
Wherever you are, enjoy your rugby.