Following two consecutive league defeats Hull RUFC got back twinning ways last Saturday with a well-deserved 27-16 home victory against Chester. With the advantage of the wind Chester led 11-6 at the interval but Hull had the upper hand in the second period to score two penalty tries, but why did it take four or five set scrums before the ref got round to awarding the tries?. The visitors had no answer to Hull’s pack power and the final try from Tom O’Donnell saw both back and forwards combine for a really well-worked try. Simon Humberstone added two penalties and a conversion to complete the scoring details in what had been a very good game of rugby football.
Elsewhere in the division second-placed Fylde shrugged off their shock defeat at Huddersfield last week with a resounding 50-10 win over visitors Tynedale. Fylde scored eight tries with winger Tom Carleton leading the way with four whilst fly-half Greg Smith landed five conversions. Fylde led 29-5 at the break and they secured the try bonus point in the 25th minute. Loughborough Students had a very good 36-24 home over Sheffield Tigers after leading 21-19 at the break and they scored five tries to the Tigers two and it was only the boot of Mark Ireland whose four penalty goals kept them in the game during the first half.
League leaders Caldy won their 18th consecutive game when they travelled to take on Luctonians where they posted a comprehensive 31-3 victory against a hard-working Lucs side who had long periods of play in the Caldy half without any success. In a very close game at Otley visitors Hinckley ran out winners by 19-15 after trailing by 12-7 at half-time but the Midlanders knew they had been given a very hard time by their hosts before securing the win. Preston Grasshoppers and Wharfedale had a battle royal in a 26-26 draw with the both sides scoring two tries and the ‘Hoppers will regret the fact that Wharfedale scored a converted try in the last minute of an enthralling game to snatch a draw. Fly-halves, Tom Davidson for the ‘Hoppers and Jack Blakeny-Edwards for Wharfe both landed four penalty goals.
In a bottom three clash at Scunthorpe, Huddersfield posted their second win on the trot with a 28-17 victory after leading 21-7 at the break. Hudds scored four converted tries to leave the home side still without a win this season. Last week I predicted that the Sedgley Park v Stourbridge game would be a cracker and although it is not often that I am right this game was just that. Stour will have really fancied their chances when they led 21-6 at half-time but in a storming second half display Sedge came back in fine style and they took the lead for the first time in the 62nd minute when fly-half Steve Collins, who had already kicked three conversions and two penalties, landed a magnificent drop-goal. The final 18 minutes were nip and tuck and although Stour had secured the try bonus point they were unable to crack a resolute home defence.
Once again there are no changes at the top of the table with Caldy, Fylde and Sedgley Park setting the pace and fourth-placed Loughborough are now eleven points behind Sedge who also have a game in hand over the Students. One change in the bottom three sees Huddersfield move up to 13th at the expense of Luctonians by just one point. There is a very close situation in mid-table where five sides are within five points of each other. Chester are on 46, Hull and Tynedale are on 44, Otley are on 42 and Wharfedale on 41. Any of these sides can climb rapidly if they put three or four wins together and equally can fall just as rapidly if they lose the same number.
This week’s fixtures begin with the visit of Hull to Caldy and in the corresponding game at the Ferens Ground on October 5th Caldy shot into a 17-0 lead in the first quarter before Hull came back strongly to level the scores at 17-17. Caldyeventually won 31-17 and Hull will be remembering that game on Saturday but it will be very hard to contain the league leaders who are carrying everthing before them this season. Chester travel to Otley in a game where 8th play 11thand it really is a game that could go either way. Both sides have shown their better and worst form this season but it should be a very close match.
Hinckley v Sedgley Park sees 5th meet third and with Hinckley on a four match winning run I think they will be able to extend it to five against a Sedge side who can be a bit vulnerable on the road. Lockwood Park, Huddersfield, sees a bottom four fixture when Preston Grasshoppers come calling and with Hudds having won their last two games they should be too strong for the Lancastrians although it could be a very tight game.
Loughborough Students entertain Luctonians in a 4th v 14thgame and although Lucs will give it their best shot I cannot see anything other than a home win here. Sheffield Tigers v Wharfedale in a Yorkshire derby is always something to look forward too and as the Tigers won the corresponding game at The Avenue by 34-18 last October they will feel they can do the double over the Dalesmen at their mountain retreat of Dore Moor.
Stourbridge v Fylde could very well be the match of the day and although Fylde won the corresponding match by 41-19 last October Stour have become a far better side than they were then and could well spring a surprise on the second-placed side. Finally, Tynedale v Scunthorpe will probably go the same way as all of Scunthorpe’s previous games so farwith a comfy win for Tyne.
My three games to watch on Saturday are Stour v Fylde, Hinckley v Sedge and Hudds v ‘Hoppers.
Wherever you are, enjoy your rugby.