By Tom Little.
October 7 2012
Week 6 - 6th October results
Blaydon 34 38 Esher
Cambridge 22 20 Tynedale
Cinderford 20 20 Richmond
Coventry Rugby 38 3 Macclesfield
Ealing Tfs 36 31 Fylde
Old Albanian(s) 27 27 Wharfedale
Rosslyn Park 38 19 Loughborough Students
Sedgley Park 40 22 Blackheath
A Saturday of surprises, draws, close encounters, poor kicking, good kicking, dropped passes and a plethora of mistakes, controversy and where even the use of runes and entrails by Directors of Rugby came to nought.
Of the top three sides only Ealing Tfs managed to win in a pulsating match against Fylde with the home side winning the match and try scoring by 5 to 4 despite the evergreen Paul Arnold’s brace of tries. Although the league’s leading try scorers Ealing are starting to show frailties in defence, they are now for the first time one bonus point win ahead of the chasing pack.
Last week’s 2nd placed team Blackheath slumped to a large away defeat at Sedgley Park, which drops them down to 5th place. Blackheath had no answer to Sedgley Park’s high tempo offloading and counter attacking game, which saw them with their first ever league win over their visitors.
Cinderford held onto 3rd place but needed a late injury time conversion to earn the draw with a Richmond side who must be have a feeling of deja vu after similarly letting a lead slip against leaders Ealing last week.
Rosslyn Park surge into 2nd spot, after their third win a row with an easy win over bottom side and still winless Loughborough Students, who despite having the fastest fullback, Craig Holland in the league are so far finding this league a step too far. Rosslyn Park confirm the premise that any team that can put a consistent winning run together can propel themselves into the upper echelons of this league.
Blaydon lost a narrow game to improving Esher, apparently now coming to terms with National League 1, but this game was not without controversy on the absence of yellow or even red cards. Great Esher defence kept out the renowned Blaydon pack.
A similarly impressive defensive display also occurred at Coventry in the first half, as the visitors Macclesfield never looked like scoring. The power of the Coventry pack took over in the 2nd half helped by some inspired kicking by Cliffie Hodgson to record Coventry’s third win of the season, and their 4th try bonus, taking them into 7th place.
Cambridge defied the odds, admittedly over an injury ravaged Tynedale side to record their 2nd win of the season, but still leaves them in the relegation zone. Brave defence coupled with the home side finally getting their running game going proved decisive.
The final game saw a high scoring draw between Old Albanian(s) and Wharfedale, close at all times with OA’s playmaker James Shanahan forced off with injury which gave the incentive back to Dale. A late penalty could have won it for Wharfedale but Tom Davidson missed it so honours even, although Dale did pick up a try bonus point.
This league shows a real need for consistency, with a run of a few wins making sides capable of marching upwards in the league. However as we have seen it is getting more and more difficult to predict results and with most teams capable of beating each other, there is tremendous competition between of teams below top and bottom.
Coventry Rugby in 7th place share the same points with 3 other teams, and the first 10 teams in the league are still only separated by 2 bonus point wins.
Week 7 - 13th Ocotber match previews:
Fixtures week 7
Blackheath v Ealing Tfs
Esher v Sedgley Park
Fylde v Cinderford
Loughborough St v Old Albanian
Macclesfield v Rosslyn Park
Richmond v Cambridge
Tynedale v Coventry Rugby
Wharfedale v Blaydon
Key game of the week must be the London derby between 5th placed Blackheath and still unbeaten leaders Ealing Tfs. With both sides pre-season favourites, Blackheath must be the most worried after losing heavily away to Sedgley Park, whilst unbeaten Ealing Tfs still show they are capable of leaking points but still win. I suspect that many other teams will want Blackheath to win to narrow the gap between the top and mid-table.
Switching to the bottom of the league Loughborough Students, still looking for their first win, might have the speed but do they have the power to overcome fellow newcomers Old Albanian(s), it may come down to whether the iconic James Shanahan is fit enough to play for OA.
A close game is expected as in form Esher, now finding their feet in this league, face a buoyant Sedgley Park after their impressive win over Blackheath. With 4th facing 8th home advantage may prove decisive.
Struggling Macclesfield, after being outplayed especially in the 2nd half by Coventry Rugby, can’t fancy their chances even at home over Rosslyn Park who are now unbeaten in 4 games. 2nd place Park should be able to consolidate their position in the league.
Fylde, despite finding it difficult to win put up a tremendous battle against leaders Ealing Tfs and came away with 2 match points. Always capable of scoring tries and now that Paul Arnold has the try scoring knack may prove too strong for their visitors, third placed Cinderford, who managed to scramble a draw with Richmond.
Draw specialists Richmond should prove too powerful at home over Cambridge, despite their narrow win over Tynedale.
In the battle of the 17 pointers Tynedale entertain Coventry Rugby, who face their longest trek of the season. In spite of their injury concerns Tynedale are always difficult to beat at home, but last week’s narrow loss at Cambridge might give Coventry a chance after their professional performance in beating Macclesfield.
The final fixture sees the north-west play the north-east as Wharfedale entertain Blaydon. Two well matched packs might cancel each other out, but Dale must be marginal favourites at home after their draw away at Old Albanian(s), whilst Blaydon will be smarting after losing at home to Esher.
Another week of nerve wracked Directors of Rugby wondering what the results will be, but undoubtedly exciting for the enthralled spectators.
A full match preview of the Coventry Rugby v Tynedale game next Saturday will appear shortly.
Coventry Rugby press office
7th October 2012
|7 Oct, 2012 19:00||Report|
Unofficial Coventry Rugby (IP Logged)