Tier 4 Regional League round-up
NORTHAMPTON DEMONS A batted to a hard fought 34-18 win over COVENTRY DRAGONS and the Division 1 final. The Demons lead from early on, with Kie Fewster crossing and converting his own score. The Dragons breathed fire into the match with two scores of their own, with Danny Coleman powering through and Joe Loach extending the lead, Mark Hislop on target with both conversions to give the visitors the lead at the break. The second half started with a Demons quick fire double through Dan Page and Nathan Jennings, the latter converted by Fewster. Dragons rallied again and James Horrocks burst through the line, laying on an easy kick for Hislop to again convert, but Dan Page nosed the hosts ahead again, with Fewster adding the extras. A fantastic arm wrestle followed, with both sides trying all they could to score in a twenty-minute period, before Jamie Patridge broke the deadlock for the Demons, Fewster again on target before Keir Flatt added a further Northampton score at the end, with Fewster again successful with the extras.
TELFORD RAIDERS edged a thriller against SLEAFORD SPARTANS to book their place in the Division 1 final, their third consecutive appearance at this level, with a 20-18 success. It was the Spartans who scored first, moving the ball wide to Ian Walker to race down the wing. Craig Dowse added the extras. The Raiders answered with Tries from Liam Evans, Jonathan Phelps, Pom Tutt and club veteran Paul Szehofner, with Evans converting the first two scores to give them a 20-6 lead at the break. Impressive Sleaford were not done and came back into the game with scores from Mark Cleaver and in the latter stages through Mark Pearson, both converted by Dowse. But the Raiders hung on to take the win.
LONDON & SOUTH EAST
It was semi-final time in the play offs with the matches going the way of the form book. All the home teams made it through to the Grand Finals, which take place on Saturday at East London RFC.
In the Southern Premier LONDON SKOLARS A were far too good for a depleted SOUTH LONDON STORM, going down 66-8. In the final they will meet HAMMERSMITH HILLS HOISTS who beat EASTERN RHINOS 46-8.
PORTSMOUTH NAVY SEAHAWKS, who were unbeaten in the South East division had a comprehensive 70-16 victory against GUILDFORD GIANTS and they will play SOUTHAMPTON SPITFIRES, who were 32-14 winners over MEDWAY DRAGONS, in the final.
The most competitive game of the day was the Womens' Grand Final between SOUTHAMPTON SPITFIRES and WEST LONDON SHARKS. They were locked at 18-18 at half time but then the Sharks took the lead and with two minutes remaining, looked to have sealed the contest. However, the Spitfires touched down in the corner to make it 36-34, the first time they'd led in the whole contest, and held on for a famous victory.
In the East, ST IVES ROOSTERS and NORTH HERTS CRUSADERS will contest the Grand Final. The Roosters beat BURY TITANS 50-22 while the Crusaders, in their first season, had a convincing 44-16 win over BEDFORD TIGERS.
The top-two enjoyed good wins in the Premier Division as BANK QUAY BULLS came out 42-22 winners over WIDNES ST MARIES VIKINGS and PILKINGTON RECS cruised past HALTON SIMMS CROSS 54-16. In an entertaining game the Bulls had too much fire power for a spirited Vikings outfit and have now won 10 out of their 11 league games to head the table, whilst St Maries wait for their first win of the season continues. Pilks racked up a half-century of points for the second time this campaign as the produced a great attacking display to see off Halton. Their eighth win of the season proved to the perfect tonic as they returned to winning ways following last week’s defeat to Blackbrook and with five wins in their last six games they look determined to play in part in the end of season play-offs.
The top flights other game saw ASHTON BEARS beat BARROW ISLAND 30-18. The victory – the Bears third win in four games – sees them move above their Cumbrian opponents in the league ladder.
Friday evening’s game in Division Two between CHORLEY PANTHERS and LATCHFORD ALBION was brought to a premature end due to an injury to the hosts Rob Livingstone. Earlier a third minute try from Sean Anderson and conversion from Rick Wareing had given the Panthers the perfect start, before the fourth placed visitors roared back with two converted scores of their own to hold a slender 12-6 lead. A decision on the outcome of the game will now be made by the league management.
DEVON SHARKS qualified for the Grand Final, where they will face North Devon Raiders, seeing off young and inexperienced PLYMOUTH TITANS 90-14 at the Shark Tank. Russell Morris opened the scoring for the hosts on four minutes, Jack Keiller converting. Paul Cartright was next to cross and Will Hodgson posted two touchdowns on consecutive plays to make it 20-0 after 15 minutes. Plymouth’s first foray into Sharks territory saw them cough up the ball, Cartright making them pay with his second, Morris turning provider to poacher on the half hour. Titans then enjoyed their best spell, Alex Wright and Mark Friend going in only for counters by Briggs on both occasions, Keiller’s goals making it 44-8 at the break. Briggs was over again in the corner at the start of the second half followed by Ollie Hill – preparing to play in his fifth final for the Sharks. Matt Limmer scored from the re-start, skipper Anthony Pinkerton converting both and Limmer was then in again from a move that had the crowd on their feet. Jon Woodhead powered over for the Sharks, Hill, Hodgson, and Keiller next across, with Keiller converting one taking the Sharks lead to 82-8 with ten minutes to go. Wright got a consolation for the visitors, goaled by Andy Turner but Sharks ended on the front foot with further touchdowns to Pinkerton and Hill again, Woodhead goaling the latter.
HUNSLET WARRIORS moved within two points of leaders Milford Marlins in Group 1 after a convincing 38-4 win over HEWORTH. Warriors player coach Amraz Hamid gave his side the prefect start when he crossed after just seven minutes for a try converted by Ryan Clark. Full-back Clark was the next Warrior to cross the whitewash in the 20th minute and he added his second conversion to make it 12-0. Heworth prop Mike Crossman showed great strength to power over and cut the gap five minutes later, but that proved to be as good as it got for the York-based visitors. With half-time approaching Hunslet hit form as they crossed for two more touchdowns from James Dawson and Jamie Thirwell, with Clark and Craig Ollivant tagging on the extras to open a commanding 26-4 interval lead. It took the hosts just two minutes into the second period to increase their advantage as Thirwell grabbed his second, while Dawson also completed a brace. Clark was on target to improve both and complete a good afternoon’s work for the Warriors.
Wayne McHugh led the way with a four-try haul as FRYSTON WARRIORS’ dominance of the Premier Division continued with a 74-0 demolition of OULTON RAIDERS. Loose forward Jack Lee helped himself to hat-trick and there were also touchdowns to Jack Taylor, Micky Onollell, Jimmy Clarkson and John Smith. Scrum-half Dale Cogan landed 10 goals to complete the scoring as Fryston moved six points clear at the top and stretched their unbeaten run to seven games.
Twenty tries and 15 goals from Tommy Malyan saw WALTON WARRIORS thrash STANNINGLEY A 110-0 at the Walton Community Centre. Centre Martin Brookes led the way with six tries as Warriors led 50-0 at the break, Geoff Hicks claiming four touchdowns. Hooker Sam Ellam, who bossed the show throughout snared a brace, Billy Griffiths a hat trick and there were further four pointers for Adam Greaves, Lee Bennett, Tom Crowther, Craig Jones and Lee Garside.