Last Saturday was catch-up day in the division and only five games were played between sides whose previous fixtures had been cancelled, mainly through adverse weather conditions.
We start with the Huddersfield v Tynedale game which saw the Lockwood Park men ease their relegation fears with a very good 31-15 victory after leading 17-15 at half-time. Hudds scored four tries to two with the touchdowns coming from Fran Entressengle, Tom Hodson, Josh Crickmay and Alex Battye, with Will Milner converting all four and also landing a penalty goal. Hudds had two men yellow-carded in quick succession early in the first half but they took complete control during the second period to claim all five points. Ben Bell and Ethan Clarke scored tries for Tyne and Rob Carter lands a conversion and a penalty goal. This win lifted Hudds up from 13th to 10th in the table, level-pegging with Tyne on 57 points each.
Otley, although still remaining in the bottom three, posted an important 36-24 home win over visitors Luctonians after racing into a 36-12 interval lead and securing the bonus point in the 24thminute. Lucs came out fighting in the second half and after spending most of the third quarter in the Otley half they scored two tries in the final 12 minutes to gain a well-earned losing bonus point. Both sides scored some fine tries with Otley’s coming from Owen Dudman, Elliott Morgan, Adam Malthouse(2) and Max Johnson. Ben Smith landed 4 conversions and a penalty goal. Lucs tries were scored by Charles Meredith (2), Callum Young and Rob Lewis, with Will Burton landing 2 conversions. This victory put an end to Otley’s 7 game run of defeats and will give them great encouragement in their relegation battle.
Sedgley Park built on their close 13-10 win over Hull the previous week to outclass Loughborough Students by 5 tries to 2 in a very convincing 32-14 victory after a close first half which saw them lead 15-7 at the break. After losing 3 consecutive games before their narrow win over Hull, Sedge were back at their very best and this win put them 9 points clear of the fifth-placed Students and just 2 behind Hinckley. Their tries came from Connor James, Tom Ailes, Oli Glasse, Rob Birtwell and Dan Openshaw with Glasse landing 2 cons and a penalty goal. George Barber scores both of the visitors tries and converted both.
As expected, Scunthorpe lost their 25th game of the season when they lost to visitors Chester by 64-18 after trailing 31-13 at half time. Chester scored 10 tries and seven conversions in this game to make their points total against Scunthorpe since their big win at Chester on 22 February to 173 points. Their scoring difference is now plus 72 as compared to their former somewhat dismal deficit in February.
Wharfedale and Stourbridge put on a very close but entertaining game at The Avenue as Wharfe returned to winning ways with a 19-15 win over the Midlanders. Stour led 15-14 at the break with tries from Callum Morris and Afeafe Haisila, who also landed a conversion and a penalty goal. Jack Blakeney-Edwards and Chris Jackson scored first-half tries for Wharfe with Blakeney-Edwards converting both. In the 44th minute of the game Oli Cicognini put Wharfe into the lead and a very tense and nail-biting final 36 minutes saw them hold onto their very narrow lead to move up 2 places to 9th in the table.
So once again there is no change at the top or the bottom of the table and that it how it will stay for the foreseeable future as due to the Coronavirus pandemic all rugby union games and training sessions at all levels will be postponed until April 14th 2020 at least. It could be even longer and only time will tell. I intend to get my weekly ‘rugby fix’ by watching a few games on ‘catch-up’ on the telly.
Please do your best to keep in good health until my next posting. Norman Angell.