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Norman’s league round-up ahead of the final seven games

Two weeks ago Hull RUFC were at home to Sheffield Tigers and in a game played in a very high wind both sides contributed to a very good game of rugby considering the conditions. Hull had the benefit of the wind in the first half and scored five tries to build up a substantial lead of 29-0. Try scorers were Harvey Harding, Charlie Beech, Laurie Cowen, Will Hall and Alex Heard, two of which were converted by Simon Humberstone.  The Tigers were able to take the same advantage and tries from Anthony Simcox and James Newman in the first 13 minutes of the second half were both converted by Mark Ireland.  This early dominance was stemmed by another try for Hull from Simon Humberstonewhich seemed to take some of the fire from the visitors who scored a late converted try in the 75th minute from Lee Monks for a final score of 34-21.  A nine try game played in a very good spirit was more than might have been expected in windy and sometimes rainy conditions and credit is due to both sets of players for the entertainment they provided under the circumstances. This win lifted Hull to seventh place in the table but as only three of the eight games were played it can be considered as temporary. Our scoring difference is now plus 4

Last week was a free day on the league calendar but the five previously cancelled fixtures were due to be played.  However, Storm Dennis struck again and three of these were again cancelled.  The results were as follows; Chester 109 – Scunthorpe 12, which put Chester’s previously dismal scoring difference back in the black by just four points;  Sedgley Park 10 – Caldy 29, leaving the league leaders still unbeaten.  The only change these two games made was Chester moving from eleventh to eighth in the table.

This weekend’s fixtures begin with league leaders Caldy at home to bottom side Scunthorpe who are now mathematicallyrelegated. With eight games left they have to win all eight with winning bonus points to reach a total of 46 and as 13thplaced Luctonians are already on 49 it is a case of ‘Goodnight Nurse’ for them.  After the hammering they received last week they will be dreading their visit to the Wirral this week.  Chester v Preston Grasshoppers sees 8th play 15th and I will be very surprised if the ‘Hoppers get anything out of this game but all is not lost for them yet and where there is life there ishope.

Hinckley v Wharfedale is a 3rd v 10th clash and Hinckley are on a very good run at the moment having won their last eight consecutive games and although Wharfe can always provide tough opposition both home and away Hinckley are very likely to make it nine on the trot. Hull entertain Otley in a 7th v 14th game and they will be very keen to make amends for the narrow 27-23 defeat back on November 9th at Cross Green. In their last three games Hull have beaten Loughborough, Luctonians (A) and Sheffield Tigers. Otley have lost their last five matches and in the in the last two Saturday’s their home fixture v Luctonians has twice been postponed. The lack of match practice may have been compensated by the return of injured players but Hull are likely to have the edge in this Yorkshire derby.

Fifth-placed Loughborough Students take on second-placed Fylde at the University ground and this promises to be a very close and even game if the Students are anywhere near full strength. This game has a bit of history to it as Fylde have only won once in their last nine visits to the Students but on their last two visits to the Midlands they beat Stourbridge by 56-12 and lost to Hinckley 27-17.  Should be well worth watching. 4th in the table Sedgley Park make the long visit to Luctonia where they face a side fighting to avoid relegation in 13th place, whilst Sedge themselves have slipped a bit behind in the race for second  place and are now nine points adrift of Fylde in the table and will be eager to not fall further behind.

Sheffield Tigers are at home to Tynedale in an 11th v 9th clash and the Tigers, who have only won once in 2020 and are on a five match losing run, are badly in need of a win to stop the rot and judging by league positions this should be a very close and tough game. Tynedale have won three and lost three in 2020 and I think that the Tigers will break their losing sequence after this game.  Finally in a 6th v 12th fixture Stourbridge host Huddersfield and they should post a win in this one, and although the Yorkshiremen will make them work hard for anything they get I expect a home win. In the corresponding game at Lockwood Park on November 9thHudds won a thriller by 32-31, will history repeat itself?

My three games of the day are Loughborough v Fylde, Tigers v Tyne and Stour v Hudds.

Wherever you are enjoy your rugby.

Norman Angell.

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