Tier 4 Regional Leage round-up
BRIDGEND BLUE BULLS ended a good week with a thumping 62-12 win over the TITANS at Machen RFC. Gareth Howells lead the way with four tries while David James came off the bench to claim a brace, but the Titans had one of the best players on the pitch in fullback Dwaine Bailey who was excellent throughout. Bridgend claimed their first score in the opening minute when props Charles
Stevenson and Lee Harben-Jones made good yards before Gareth David put in a great cross field kick which was caught by winger Joshua Collins who crossed for a simple score which Howells converted.
A good run by Tom Johnson then sent Howells over for his first try before a fine solo effort from Gareth David, Howells again adding the extras for a 16-0 lead, Titans hit back with a deserved score from Andy Whittingham, goaled by James Buckthought but fine play from Bulls debutant Jamie Johns helped set up a score for Huw Rosser. Richard Howells then made an immediate impact coming off the bench to first help set up a second score for his younger brother Gareth, he then came within inches from scoring himself but was hauled down just short, but Craig Fox was on hand diving over a would be Titan tackler to claim his team’s sixth try of the game, Gareth David converting both to make it 32-4 at the break. Early in the second half another cross field kick from David fell perfectly for David James with David also adding the extras. Gareth Howells then twice intercepted loose passes to race over for his third and fourth scores. Marc England then claimed a deserved second for the home side with Buckthought again kicking the goal but great play from Gethin Davies sent Tylon Mafi racing to the line. Moments later Mafi broke away to help set
up David James for his second. The final score went to prop Charles Stevenson who charged over after good play from Collins and Fox.
Stand off Chad McGlame was the star with four tries as EASTERHOUSE PANTHERS defeated ABERDEEN WARRIORS at Nethercraigs. Panthers led 18-4 at the break, their other try scorers being Ruaraigh Cuthbertson and Stephen Riley. Aiden Holland crossed for the sole first half score for Aberdeen, the visitors staging a second half revival when Scott Travis, Jordan Robertson and Chris Reed narrowed the gap to set up a tense finish – but it was too little too late.
LONDON & SOUTH EAST
HAMMERSMITH HILLS HOISTS and LONDON SKOLARS A continue to set the pace at the top of the Southern Premier table. Hammersmith had a 26-12 win at EASTERN RHINOS in a game that kicked off over an hour late. The Rhinos failed to make long spells of pressure on the visitors line count with Hoists always dangerous on the break. The home side were eventually undone by the Hoists kicking game, which led to three of their tries. Skolars won 38-18 at ELMBRIDGE EAGLES but despite the defeat Elmbridge can take heart from an encouraging second half performance. Skolars led 28-6 at the interval but the home side won the second half battle, scoring 12 points against a very solid Skolars defence while conceding only 10.
In the SOUTH EAST division PORTSMOUTH NAVY SEAHAWKS stretched their lead at the top of the table to four points after a 36-10 win over second placed SOUTHAMPTON SPITFIRES while SUSSEX MERLINS beat MEDWAY DRAGONS 32-14.
The result of the day came at MILTON KEYNES WOLVES who made history with their first ever win - a stunning 38-22 home victory over previously unbeaten league leaders ST IVES ROOSTERS.
NORTH HEARTS CRUSADERS closed the gap on the Roosters to two points with a 32-22 victory at KINGS LYNN BLACK KNIGHTS. The Bedford Tigers v Bury Titans match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
The dismissal of GLOUCESTERSHIRE WARRIORS loose forward Dale Cook for an alleged head butt ended hopes of victory in a competitive encounter at Sandyleaze, his side going down 38-34 to LEICESTER STORM. When Cook saw red, the Warriors were going well having battled back from a 16-10 interval deficit to lead 22-16 but afterwards they rarely saw the ball as the Storm were able to monopolise possession and lay siege to the Warriors line. That the score line remained close just emphasises what a great chance the Warriors had to secure only their second win of the season as three close range tries from hooker Matt Williams and a hat-trick from Sam Goatley including two sensational solo efforts from distance had kept them well in touch. Barely two minutes had gone before the Warriors were behind through a well-worked Austin Huntley try goaled by Dave Weston but they hit back and levelled through Williams’ first, goaled by Aaron Fowke. The home side were enjoying the better of play and went ahead thanks to Williams’ quick thinking from dummy half as he dived through a gap to score. Storm responded with two tries before the break, Weston getting the first, sliding through a gap in the Warriors defence. Adam Jones then crossed for the first of a hat-trick for the Storm to leave them 16-10 up at the change of ends. The home side’s team talk seemed to have the better effect as the Warriors repulsed the Storm’s first attack and replied with a try from Williams who forced his way over at the third time of asking after the wall of Storm defenders had kept him out but not completed the tackle. Goatley added the extras to level the scores and it was he who gave the Warriors the lead five minutes later scoring from close range, Fowke adding the goal. The Warriors attacked from the restart and a sweeping move ended in the corner on the last tackle as they were penalised for an incorrect play-the-ball on the last tackle. That was to be virtually the last the Warriors saw of the ball for almost ten minutes as the Storm upped the pressure and the Warriors’ discipline, which up to then had been good, shattered. Cook left the field and immediately Karl Harris scored, Weston levelling the scores with the goal. Jones then crossed for his second try and the Storm looked home with a 28-22 lead. Incredibly, the Warriors were level with just over ten minutes left as a flat pass bounced off a Storm attacker into Goatley’s arms and the scrum half ran the full length of the pitch to score between the posts, adding the goal for good measure. Leicester responded well after the Warriors had made a mistake on their next set and scored twice in quick succession through Jones and Adam Barnes to put ten points between the sides. Again the Warriors responded and Goatley broke the Storm line deep in his own half to again outpace the defence to the line. The goal put just one score between the sides with one set of tackles remaining for the Warriors. However, they could not fashion a scoring opportunity and Storm held on to win.
WEST OF ENGLAND
A hat-trick from player-coach Chris Richards saw SOMERSET VIKINGS to a 39-30 win over OXFORD CAVALIERS that completed a league double and sent the Vikings to the top of the West of England division table. In a game where the lead changed hands six times, the Cavaliers took a narrow lead into the break but faded towards the end for the Vikings to get home. Richards had opened the scoring for the home side but Tom Waterfield replied for Oxford, Chris Stables’ goal edging them ahead. Brian Webb’s try converted by Dan Hinton was cancelled out by two scores in quick succession from Stables both goaled by Shane Turner for the Cavaliers. Mark Lees’ close-range effort pegged the Cavaliers back at the interval and Richards’ second of the day soon after the resumption had the Vikings back in front. Back came Oxford with Jack Briggs’ tenth try of the season for a two-point lead that was halved by Hinton’s drop goal after some intense Vikings pressure. Ian Miller then crossed for Turner to give the Cavaliers a 23-30 advantage but the Vikings came home with a wet sail, scoring three times in the final ten minutes to wrap up the points. Sonny Haines grabbed the first, surging through a tired defence before Richards completed a rare hat-trick, Hinton converting for a five point lead with just four minutes left. The Cavaliers could not mount a comeback this time and the win was completed by Lee Johnston’s try in the final minute.
PILKINGTON RECS moved into second place in the Premier Division as they battled past CLOCK FACE with a 16-10 win. Tries from Danny Lynch and Kelvin Duffy – plus a conversion from the boot of Greg Smith – moved them into a 10-0 half-time lead, before they were made to withstand a great fight back from the hosts. A 42nd minute Sam Long touchdown – converted by Martin Hutton – brought Clock Face right back into the game and both sides had chances to take control as the second period wore on. As the match entered the last five minutes impressive stand-off Smith stepped his way over for the decisive score before adding the extras to seal the win.
Elsewhere in the top division BANK QUAY BULLS underlined their dominance with a comprehensive 42-6 win on the road at BARROW ISLAND. The Bulls eighth win in as many games moved them two points at the top.
A Tom Ratcliffe hat trick sealed a victory in the East Coast derby as SCARBOROUGH PIRATES defeated HOLDERNESS VIKINGS 44-34. The GB University representative had too much cunning and class for a strong Vikings side, who signalled their intent with two early tries. The home side responded well with Craig Farrell orchestrating play at stand-off, twice feeding full back Harry Sleep to draw level. The game swung from end to end with some superb running rugby from both sides. Al McLeod was man of the match for the visitors, but Ratcliffe’s clever bursts and intelligent play saw the Pirates sail to victory.
HUNSLET WARRIORS A were too strong for HEWORTH triumphing 46-16. From the kick off the Warriors took control, strong tackles from Hurst and Gordon driving the York outfit back into their own territory. A first half hat trick for winger Anthony Adinall, two outstanding efforts by Luke Rayner and a Wheelhouse try - Clarke landing five conversions - gave Warriors a comfortable 34-6 lead at the break. To Heworth’s credit the second half was a much closer affair, the York team matching Warriors’ work rate and having a much greater share of the ball and territory. Warriors’ Sam Fletcher crossed against the run of play following a Rayner ball steal and poor Hunslet discipline provided Heworth with field position to put the visitor’s on the back foot. The host’s were rewarded with tries for centre Smith and replacement Caddy who converted his own effort. However it was Warriors who finished on top when captain Matthew Rymer crossed in the closing minutes, Clarke adding the extras.
FRYSTON WARRIORS continued their dominance of the Premier Division with a huge 82-6 win over CUTSYKE RAIDERS. The Warriors claimed the Castleford derby bragging rights with a ruthless display which saw them cross for 15 tries in a one-sided contest. They hit the front with a fifth minute touchdown from second rower Dale Wynne and when Andy Speake added his second conversion to Steven Scott’s tenth minute score they were well on their way. By half-time they had opened a 36-0 lead thanks to tries to Adam Withington, Jimmy Clarkson, Wayne McHugh with a brace, Jack Taylor and two more Speake conversions. The procession continued in the second period as Dale Wynne and Lee Land both crossed for converted scores by the 46th minute, before the plucky visitors eventually got some reward when Danny Huby claimed their touchdown and Aaron Phelps added the extras. Normal order was soon restored when Adam Rothwell went in for Fryston’s tenth try and by the time the final whistle had sounded Adam Kerry, Aaron Strawson, Adam Withington, Jack Lee and Jack Taylor had all followed him over. Speake finished with seven goals, whilst Adam Rothwell (2), Kerry and Dean Sampson also added to the goal tally.
DEWSBURY CELTIC edged past WEST BRADFORD BARBARIANS 33-26 in a thrilling game in Group Six. Joe Diskin with a try double, Elliott Smith, Richard Tillotson, Danny Buckley and Nikki Crabtree were the men to land four-pointers for Celtic; Crabtree with three and Mike Foulstone adding the goals. Richard Tillotson added a drop-goal for good measure. The Barbarians – who were right in the contest until the final minutes – had James Dewhirst on form as he crossed for a hat-trick. Steve Richardson grabbed a brace, while Mark Goodyear was on target three times with the boot.