Hull’s five match winning run came to an end last Saturday when visitors Stourbridge gained revenge for their home defeat against Hull on September 21st with a 25-18 victory at the Ferens Ground. A very even first half saw Stour lead 8-3 at the break although Hull had applied a lot of pressure at times without any reward for it. It was a different story in the second half as Hull lost some of their composure to allow the visitors to take a 25-3 lead into the final quarter. Hull then showed what they are capable of by coming back strongly to score two tries to gain a well-earned losing bonus point while Stour returned home with five points to move back above Hull in the league table. Ali Heard and Tom O’Donnell scored the tries with Simon Humberstone kicking a penalty goal and when he left the field Doug Flockhart kicked a penalty and a conversion.
Elsewhere in the division leaders Caldy were far too strong for Sheffield Tigers as they scored six tries in a comprehensive 40-7 win over the fourth-placed side who trailed 21-0 at the break. Five of the tries were converted as Caldy continued their 100% unbeaten run of sixteen games.Second-placed Fylde were given a very tough game at home to Wharfedale who trailed 12-3 at half-time but the Dalesmenhad a very good second period before losing by 24-17.
In a very high-scoring game at Loughborough the Students ran amok over Chester to score ten tries, seven of which were converted in a 64-31 victory after leading 33-19 at the break. They secured the try bonus point after just 22 minutes. Chester scored five themselves for a try bonus point in this 95 point try-fest. Luctonians gave the strong Hinckley side a good run for their money and were leading 20-12 in the 65thminute after trailing 12-10 at half-time. Hinckley came back with two converted tries in the final 15 minutes to win a very entertaining and close game by 26-20.
In a very close and hard-fought fixture at Otley the home side triumphed by 16-13 over Tynedale who have now lost their last five matches. They led 10-6 at the break but 2 unconverted tries in the second period saw the Yorkshiremen take the four points. Preston Grasshoppers’ run of eight games without a win finally ended when in a bottom of the table clash at Scunthorpe they beat the home side by 30-7 to take all five points. This was only the fourth win of the season for the ‘Hoppers who still have much to do to climb out of the relegation zone.
Finally, in a very good and close game at Sedgley Park visitors Huddersfield looked well on course for the full five points and were leading 24-21 before fly-half Steve Collins scored an 80th minute try which he then converted to deny Hudds a win which would have lifted them out of the relegation zone.
So yet again there is no change at either end of the league table. Caldy lead with 76 points ahead of Fylde with 68 and Sedgley Park with 64. Caldy also have a game in hand over both their rivals. Down at the bottom Scunthorpe are still without a win and are on 6 points, Preston are now on 26 with Hudds on 30.
This week’s fixtures begin with leaders Caldy at home to Loughborough who are 4th and despite the Student’s demolition of Chester last week Caldy look to be posting their 17th win of the season although the visitors are likely to make them work hard for it. 7th meet 13th when Chester entertain Luctonians where the home side will be keen to erase the memory of last Saturday’s drubbing but Lucs are always a tough side to beat despite their league position and it could be close.
Hinckley v Hull will be a very tough game for the visitors who defeated Hull 36-18 in the corresponding game at the Ferens Ground and they will have to be at their very best to get a result here. Hinckley have lost eight games this season and three of those have been at home so maybe Hull could be the fourth side to win at Leicester Road. Huddersfield entertain second-placed Fylde at Lockwood Park and despite the huge difference in league positions Hudds proved last week at Sedgley Park that they can compete with the best sides, so a shock result could be in the offing here.
Sheffield Tigers v Preston Grasshoppers sees 6th take on 15thand the Tigers will be strong favourites to put their big defeat at Caldy behind them against the struggling ‘Hoppers. Stourbridge v Otley is an 8th v 9th clash which could go either way and is likely to be very close.
Tynedale are at home to Sedgley Park and will have to very well to avoid their sixth defeat on the trot against the Lancastrians, while Wharfedale v Scunthorpe could be classed as a home banker.
My three games to watch are Caldy v Loughborough, Chester v Luctonians and Stourbridge v Otley.
Wherever you are, enjoy your rugby.