Bishops Stortford 27, Cambridge 36
Report by John Allanson, Bishops Stortford Rugby

Stortford well beaten by a powerful Cambridge side, but will be disappointed at the extent to which they contributed to their own downfall.
Despite gifting, former player, James Ayrton an interception try within two minutes of the start, Cambridge had much the better of the first half and, but for a number of handling errors in midfield, would surely have turned round with a comfortable lead. Their pack was clearly on top at the scrums, so repeated knock-ons, as they tried to spread the ball wide at every opportunity, were not always as costly as they might have been. Aided by a faltering Stortford lineout, they managed to sustain long periods of pressure, narrowing the gap by three points through a Rhodri Adamson penalty after 22 minutes, when the home side midfield was caught offside. With Stortford’s defence looking uncharacteristically fragile, the visitors eventually strung a series of passes together, leading to a good try out wide to winger, Andrew Henderson after 26 minutes, well converted from the touchline by Adamson. Within 5 minutes their lead had been stretched to 8 points through an unconverted try to Ciaran Moore from a powerful 5 metre scrum. With 2 minutes of the half left, Stortford finally put together a passage of incisive backs play and, with Joss Linney stepping in off the opposite wing to create an overlap, he was able to give Mike Ayrton a sight of the line, allowing the fullback to emulate his brother in touching down against his former Club. The conversion went narrowly wide, but renewed pressure from the home team produced an eminently kickable penalty, as first half time was running out. Spurning the opportunity to level the scores, though, the decision was taken to go for touch – a very bold choice, given Stortford’s lineout difficulties and Cambridge were able to snuff out the danger with little difficulty.

The home side restarted in similarly generous mood, conceding after 3 minutes, when George Bretag-Norris charged down a rather ponderous attempted clearance kick from a lineout inside the Stortford 22 and a kind bounce gave the second row an easy touchdown. With Seb Brownhill on at tighthead prop for the second half, Cambridge’s scrum dominance of the first period was reversed and the first scrum of the half produced a penalty for Stortford from a powerful shove. Burr went for goal from a far more difficult position than that spurned 7 minutes earlier and duly added 3 points with 46 minutes gone. The visitors swept straight back onto the attack and a second offence at a breakdown in quick succession inside the Stortford 22 produced a yellow card for Dan Elsom to the obvious consternation of the player and his skipper. Cambridge were quick to take advantage of the extra man, with flanker, Alex Rayment crashing over after 52 minutes for a converted try to stretch his side’s lead to 14 points. The visitors became increasingly dominant, with Stortford starting to look decidedly ragged, but they managed to hold out for 15 minutes, before Henderson scored his second try, assisted by a badly missed cover tackle. Adamson added a great conversion. Amazingly, the home side now rallied and dominated possession for the remaining 12 minutes, battering away at a solid Cambridge defence through phase after phase. This produced two tries in quick succession, the first to Will Roberts on 75 minutes, crashing over from close range, converted by James Ayrton. Jake Spivey, on a s replacement scrumhalf added an opportunist try 3 minutes later, breaking from the base of a ruck to dash over from some 20 yards out. Ayrton’s conversion attempt from close to touch, which would have secured his team a second bonus point, unfortunately fell just short.

Many thanks go to Match Day sponsors, Tees and to Man of the Match sponsor, BIT Solutions, whose nomination from the home ranks went to Rob Duff.

Cinderford 36, Plymouth Albion 29
Report from Cinderford Rugby Club website

Joe Mullis scored a last gasp try as Cinderford edged out Plymouth Albion in a pulsating South West derby that left everyone breathless at the final whistle.

James Butler opened the scoring for the home team with a penalty after six minutes, but Albion hit back when centre Dean Squire scored an unconverted try. A concerted spell of pressure resulted in the Forest team retaking the lead when winger broke clear for a try which Butler converted. Then a lineout steal saw home captain George Porter force his way over in the corner, with Butler once again adding the extras. The visitors ended the first-half well and only some terrific defending kept them at bay, until Dan Mugford kicked a penalty to make it 17-8 at the interval.

Straight from the re-start Cinderford extended their lead when centre Terence Babarinsa twisted out of the tackles to score, before winger Sam Smith cut a perfect angle to go over under the posts for his team’s bonus point try, which Butler converted to make 29-8 after 48 minutes. Plymouth were struggling to make an impact on the game at this stage, but that was to change dramatically as they scored three converted tries in five minutes to suddenly draw level. Dan Powell, Pierre Thompson and Alex Ducker all went over, with Connor Eastgate adding the conversions.

Cinderford regained their composure and went for one last surge towards the Albion line, with Mullis forcing his way through for the winning score, which Butler converted.

Cinderford; Ed Sheldon, Sam Smith, Terence Babarinsa, Jack Hayes, Ed Bogue, James Butler, Jimmy Williams, George Porter, Nathan Taylor, Tim Brockett, George Evans, Dale Lemon, Matthew Gilbert, Matt Lane, Harry Hone. Replacements; Joe Smart, James Elliot, Joe Mullis, James Dean, Will Mansfield.

Hull Ionians 5, Darlington Mowden Park 52
Report by Malcolm Knowles, Hull Ionians

Ionians succumbed to a second successive heavy defeat, following the 70 -16 setback against Birmingham, in the home fixture against Darlington Mowden Park. This wouldn’t necessarily be too concerning, other than the season is only two weeks old.
The hosts started calamitously, the defensive line standing to admire as Callum Irvine sold a dummy to cross under the posts in the opening minute, and Darlington looked lively and purposeful as they repeatedly stretched the Ionians defence in the opening exchanges.
A long-range penalty from the versatile Seremaia Turagabeci came back off the crossbar and a good follow up from Rahat Choudhury put Ionians into the “red zone” to pile on the pressure. A hurried clearance gave Ionians a line-out within striking distance and Ben Stephenson came up with a try following a successful catch and drive.
Confidence grew within the home side with the pack beginning to wrestle control and a good move along the backline swept the ball 60m down field. It provided only brief respite before Irvine waived a four man overlap to cross for his second try.
With DMP’s prop forward Appleby in the bin Ionians had an opportunity to reduce the arrears as the half came to a close but failed to capitalise, despite being awarded several penalties within the visitors 22.
DMP continued to look the more accomplished side, particularly outside the scrum, with the hosts pressed into a valiant rear-guard for the beginning of the second half. The line held for 10 minutes before being breached. Injuries took their toll on the home side and the powerful Darlington backs exploited the gaps left by the walking wounded with a brace of tries for McCartney and one each for Frankland and Walker during a disappointingly one-sided period.
Ionians re-organised their depleted resources and held the visitors at bay for 10 minutes but Darlington had too much pace and power and added late tries through Craggs and Pepper, who was rewarded for good support play following another powerful break by Walker. Seals converted 6 of the 8 tries Darlington scored to complete another miserable afternoon for Ionians.

Old Elthamians v Rosslyn Park
Rams 25, Birmingham Moseley 21
Report by Paul Smith, Birmingham Moseley Rugby Club

Two tries from John Davetanivalu and a dominant final 35 minutes narrowly failed to prevent Birmingham Moseley’s 25-21 defeat at Reading-based Rams.

The visitors enjoyed plenty of possession and territory in the first half. However, they went into the break trailing 18-7 as Rams crossed twice through Jamie Gutteridge and Ollie Cole to which Davetanivalu responded on the stroke of half-time.

Jak Rossiter’s seven-pointer extended the hosts’ advantage two minutes after the restart – but thereafter they were forced to defend for their lives against a Red-and-Black side for whom Robbie Povey joined the Army centre on the scoresheet.

However, Rams dug deep in the closing stages to escape their own half and in the process begin National One life with a second consecutive win.

Home No.10 Alex Seers kicked his team deep into the Moseley 22 in the opening minutes to establish the position from which flanker Gutteridge was driven over for a try which Seers improved.

The Red-and-Blacks missed a good opportunity to draw level when Aquile Smith was unable to gather Kieron Joyce’s scoring pass following Davetanivalu’s midfield burst.

Seers then kicked a simple second-quarter penalty before home scrum half Ollie Cole finished a flowing move started by his fly half’s quick throw-in and continued by centre Ellis Jones.

Rams withstood a long spell of pressure deep in the clubhouse corner before claiming a vital turnover from which Gutteridge galloped 40 metres upfield.

And after Cole was twice involved, Moseley lost James Tideswell to the sin bin for killing the ball on his own line and Seers added the resulting three points.

However, the visitors made light of their numerical inferiority to produce a converted score of real quality, created by Ben Palmer’s lightening break and finished by Davetanivalu.

The Red-and-Blacks 11-point interval deficit increased to 18 when Seers converted Rossiter’s try which followed Andrew Humberstone’s break.

But thereafter Moseley produced some outstanding attacking rugby which pinned their hosts in their own 22 for much of the next 30 minutes.

The visitors twice went close from five-metre attacking lineouts, then seemed certain to score when Jonny Arr and Jacques le Roux released Aquile Smith.

Although the home side’s scramble defence held firm, it was at the cost of a yellow card for hooker Ben Henderson.

And the visitors took full advantage as on-loan Coventry full back Povey raced on to Palmer’s flat pass to claim a try which Palmer improved.

A third Moseley try soon followed as Arr reacted fastest to tap a penalty awarded deep in the home 22 and send Davetanivalu powering over for a score which Palmer converted.

With nine minutes remaining Mose scented a come-from-behind win, however, Rams summoned up one last effort to escape their own half and secure a second consecutive win with some sensible game management.

Scorers:

Rams:

Tries: Gutteridge, Cole, Rossiter

Cons: Seers (2)

Pens: Seers (2)

Birmingham Moseley:

Tries: Davetanivalu (2), Povey

Cons: Palmer (3)

Line-Ups:

Rams: Bird; Rossiter, Jones, Humberstone, Denham; Seers, Cole; Kidd, Henderson, McDonnell-Roberts; Taylor, Stapley; Guttridge, Vooght, Stapley.

Replacements: Moffitt, Steadman, Thomson, Hayhow, Lloyd.

Birmingham Moseley: Povey; Smith, Joyce, Davetanivalu, Tonks; Palmer, Arr; Titchard-Jones, Austin, Tideswell; Worthington, Wright; Lawrence, Stephens, le Roux.

Replacements: Tanner, Foreman, Dimen, Russell, Jolly.

Referee: Harry Walbaum

Star man: John Davetanivalu

Half-time: Rams 18-7 Birmingham Moseley

Richmond 26, Chinnor 14
Report by Jack Johnson, Chinnor Rugby Club

CHINNOR suffered their first defeat of the season as Richmond earned victory in a gripping National League 1 encounter.

Josh McNulty opened his try-scoring account for the Oxfordshire club to put the visitors 7-6 in front at the break.

But Jesse Liston and Toby Saysell crossed in the second half as the home side claimed victory in their first home game of the season.

Chinnor had headed into the encounter off the back of a 17-15 win at Blackheath in the opening weekend of the campaign.

The visitors made three changes, with prop McNulty and centre Craig Duncan making their debuts, while Willie Ryan started at No 8.

Chinnor were pushed back early on, but McNulty did brilliantly to win back possession from a lineout and, courtesy of scrum-half Will Flinn’s fine back of the hand pass and strong running from lock Ben Thomas, they made their way up the pitch.

Both sides were guilty of errors in the opening stages, but Richmond, who were looking to spread the ball wide at every opportunity, took the lead through Ross Kirby’s 14th-minute penalty.

The hosts pushed Chinnor back as they went in search of the first try of the game, but they had to settle for three points as another Kirby penalty made it 6-0 after 22 minutes.

However, the visitors responded brilliantly to get their noses in front four minutes later.

Chinnor launched a driving maul from a lineout and McNulty spun away before touching down. Laurence May added the extras to make it 7-6.

The visitors now had control of proceedings and had a golden opportunity to extend their lead, but Flinn dropped the ball with the try-line at his mercy after Ofisa Treviranus had broken through the Richmond defence.

Chinnor headed into the break a point ahead and the home faithful thought their side had made a dream start to the second half when No 8 Tom Pashley raced over, but a penalty had already been awarded to the visitors.

Richmond continued to search for a reply and only a brilliant last ditch-tackle from Carl Kirwan prevented Ronnie McLean from touching down.

However, the pressure eventually took its toll and Liston forced his way over, Kirby converting, to make it 13-7 to the hosts on 57 minutes.

Once again, though, Chinnor’s reaction was first class as they worked their way back up the pitch before replacement scrum-half Callum Watson fed full-back Will Harries to squeeze over in the corner. May brilliantly landed a difficult conversion from the touchline to put the visitors 14-13 in front.

The second half was proving to be a gripping contest and Kirby’s third penalty of the game put Richmond 16-14 ahead with 15 minutes to go.

Chinnor were forced back again by the hosts and Joe Dancer made a fine try-saving tackle to deny McLean, but brute force saw Saysell driven over, Kirby converting, to make it 23-14 on 72 minutes.

The visitors were unable to go in search of a reply as they were forced to defend in the latter stages.

Chinnor winger Kieran Goss was sin-binned with seconds remaining and Kirby slotted the resultant penalty in the last play to complete the scoring.

Richmond: Kirby, Caddy, Mitchell, McLean, Graham, Dennett, Dabell, Walford, Grimstone, Litchfield, Hodge, Bibic, Liston, Saysell, Pashley.
Replacements: Torpey, Banfield, Scott, Gallagher, Bagwell.

Chinnor: Harries, Worrall, Elder, Duncan, Goss, May, Flinn, Fidler, Selway, McNulty, Thomas, Sheriff, Treviranus, Kirwan, Ryan.
Replacements: Robinson, Southworth, Dancer, Barnes, Watson.

Rotherham 31, Sale FC 20
Report from Rotherham Titans website

Rotherham Titans got their home National 1 campaign off to a winning start, as they impressed with a 31-20 victory over Sale FC at Clifton Lane on a glorious late-summers afternoon.

Titans outscored their Cheshire-based opponents by four tries to two, with a brace of touch downs in each half. Winger Ben Robins and fly half Sam Hollingsworth dotted down in the opening 40, with Harry Newborn and Anthony Maka crossing the whitewash in the second period.

Rotherham however didn’t have things all their own way and to be fair to Sale it was them who came out firing from the off, as they looked dangerous with their big ball-carriers making some hefty yards.

During this opening 10 minutes salvo Titans were made to graft hard and it was their steely determination to keep the visitors out which impressed.

Their resilience in defence paid off in the twelfth minute when a loose pass from Sale was hacked downfield by Titans winger Ben Robbins, he interchanged with Harry Dunne before diving over for an exciting score.

The excitement levels rose again for the hosts on 22 minutes when half back Sam Hollingsworth collected a clearing kick on the halfway line and proceeded to race past six defenders to score a scintillating try under the sticks.

Sale’s only points in the first period came via the boot of fly half Chris Johnson with two accurate kicks from the tee.

Rotherham continued to impress after the break and effectively wrapped-up the match by the hour mark following two further tries, this time from the pack.

On 49 minutes Hooker Harry Newborn crashed over from the tail of a catch and drive from five metres out before impressive back rower Anthony Maka barged over after a sustained period of forward pressure on the visitor’s line.

Disappointingly for the hosts a lapse in concentration at the death saw the visitors run in two consolation tries from full back Jonty Rawcliffe and fly half Chris Johnson.

Nevertheless Rotherham can be very pleased with their efforts and will now travel to Plymouth next week with confidence levels in a good place.

Commenting afterwards, Titans’ Martin Jenkinson said, “We are delighted with the result, we still have work-ons and there will always be those, but the adage today is that it’s not the side which does all the good work that wins the game; it’s the side which makes the fewest mistakes and the error count for us today was low and in our favour.

“It was pleasing to get the pushover try from the maul, because without that in the modern game you’re never really going to accomplish much and we saw some individual brilliance with a couple of the other tries.

“I think we have to acknowledge Harry Newborn and Anthony Maka’s performances. The carries from Anthony Maka were crucial, he made a lot of the hard yards and Harry Newborn was work-rate was exceptional and the accolades go out to those two.

“Hopefully every week from now on we are going to see a step-up as the side comes together. We are a young side and we want to continue to work on our fitness, physicality and enthusiasm.”

Referee: Andrew Jackson

Attendance: 687

Yellow Card: None

Titans: Robbins (T), Newborn (T), Maka (T), Hollingsworth (T, 4C, P)

Sale FC: Rawcliffe (T), Johnson (T, 2C, 2P)

Titans: 15 Sam Allan, 14 Ben Robbins, 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Harry Dunne, 11 Connor Field (Bunting 64), 10 Sam Hollingsworth, 9 Connor Dever, 1 Toby Williams (Whitfield 60), 2 Harry Newborn (Defelitto 67), 3 Will Dennis (Ward 64), 4 Elliott Ward, 5 Kieran Frost, 6 Lewis Wilson, 7 Zak Poole (Capt.), 8 Anthony Maka (Laxton 67).

Replacements: 16 Agustin Defelitto, 17 Harry Whitfield, 18 Reece Ward, 19 Keifer Laxton, 20 Morgan Bunting.

Sale FC: 15 Jonty Rawcliffe, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Johnny Leota (Toa 50), 11 Patrick Ah Van (Moorhouse 59), 10 Chris Johnson, 9 Matthew Bradley, 1 Jake Pope (Matthews 59), 2 Juan Rivas (Longmore 20), 3 Mathew Talaese (Pope 64), 4 William Davies, 5 Matt Postlethwaite, 6 Jake Barron (Priestley-Nangle 64), 7 Andrew Hughes, 8 Jarad Williams.

Replacements: 16 Ollie Longmore, 17 Dan Matthews, 18 Stone Priestley-Nangle, 19 Jeremy Toa, 20 Jack Moorhouse.