Last Saturday, Hull travelled to Hinckley hoping to put their away defeat at Stourbridge the previous week behind them but after a very tough arm-wrestle of a game they were beaten 19-8. Hull had long periods of the game when they were able to exert pressure on their hosts but they found the Hinckley defence in resolute form and it was only in the late stages of the match that they were able to crack the home defence. Scorers for Hull were Tom O’Donnell with the try and Simon Humberstone with a first half penalty goal. Hull welcomed back prop Ben Boothman after a long period of injury and were glad to report that he came through the game very well.
Elsewhere in the division Caldy stretched their unbeaten run to 17 consecutive victories with a 41-7 defeat of Loughborough Students at Paton Field where their fourth-placed visitors trailed 17-0 at the break. Caldy scored seven tries in the game but only three of them were converted. Chester would have expected a hard home game againstLuctonians and they certainly got one as the Leominster side posted their second consecutive way win with a 29-25 victory to pick up the full five points after leading 19-10 at half-time.
Bottom three side Huddersfield provided the shock of the day when they defeated second placed Fylde by 32-15, taking the full five points in the process after leading narrowly by 17-15 at the break. The home side dominated the second period as they scored a further fifteen points to give themselves some very valuable points and sending the Lockwood Park faithful home in a very good mood. Sheffield Tigers could have expected an easy ride against Preston Grasshoppers at Dore Moor. ‘Dour’ Moor was at its evil worst and the game was played in atrocious weather conditions with the very strong wind having a detrimental effect on the play and the Tigers will be happy with narrowest of narrow wins by 11-10.
After halting a five match run of defeats with their win over Hull last week Stourbridge were in the right frame of mind for their home game against Otley and ran in eight tries as they beat a poor Otley side by 50-12 after leading 26-0 at half-time. They would probably have scored more points as the match was restricted to uncontested scrums in the second half. Sedgley Park fell to their fourth defeat of the season when they visited Tynedale who broke a losing run of five defeats with a very surprising 15-8 win over the Manchester side. Tyne led by just 7-5 at the break and prevented Sedge from any more tries, restricting them to a losing bonus point.
Finally, Wharfedale did themselves a lot of good with a comprehensive 49-12 win over struggling Scunthorpe who trailed 35-0 at half-time. Wharfe scored seven converted tries in the match and were never in any danger after landing the try bonus point by the 27th minute. The second half was a bit more even with both sides scoring two tries and the great majority of the 496 spectators went home very happy.
Once again, all these results made no difference to the league placings apart from the fact that at the top Caldy were able to extend their lead over Fylde and Sedgley Park to 13 points and 16 points respectively. They are now on 81 points, with Fylde on 68 and Sedge on 65. At the bottom Scunthorpe are on just 6 points, ‘Hoppers are on 27 and Huddersfield are on 35, just 4 behind Luctonians.
This week’s fixtures begin with second placed Fylde at home to ninth placed Tynedale and after Fylde’s shock defeat at Huddersfield last week they will be anxious to make amendsand Tyne will be boosted by their good win over Sedgley Park last week but it is likely that home advantage will play a big part in this game. Hull entertain Chester and with both sides losing last week they will have something to prove to their supporters and it could be a very close thing and again, home advantage will be important,
Loughborough Students v Sheffield Tigers sees 4th play 6th and the Students will be smarting after last week’s heavy defeat at the hands of Caldy and it is likely that they will be too strong for the Tigers who struggled against ‘Hoppers last time out. Luctonians v Caldy looks like an away banker considering the form Caldy are showing this season but Lucs are a tough nut to crack on their own ground and are sure to push their visitors all the way.
10th take on 5th when Otley host Hinckley, who are now on a three match winning run and after Otley’s drubbing at Stourbridge last week they could fall again to another Midlands side unless they are able to raise their game this weekend. Preston Grasshoppers entertain Wharfedale and the second from bottom side will have a tough task on their hands to get anything from this game and the ‘Hoppers will take great heart from their close result at Dore Moor but I fancy an away win here.
16th meet 14th when Scunthorpe entertain Huddersfield and after Field’s shock win over Fylde they should be more than capable of extending Scunthorpe’s losing run to 18 games on Saturday. Finally, it should be a cracking game at SedgleyPark when Stourbridge come to town. Stour have hit a fine vein of form whilst Sedge will be very keen to get back to winning ways following their defeat at Tynedale last week. I take Sedge to win but not by very many points.
My three games to watch on Saturday, based purely on league placings, are Sedge v Stour, Students v Sheff Tigers and Hull v Chester.
Wherever you are, enjoy your rugby.