by Paul Smith, Birmingham Moseley
Aquile Smith’s second hat-trick of the fledgling season plus Ben Palmer’s immaculate display of goal-kicking edged Birmingham Moseley to a bonus point win over Bishop’s Stortford.
The winger grabbed two scores during a first half which saw the home side convert a ten-point deficit into a 21-10 interval advantage.
And he went on to register his team’s only touchdown of a second period during which the visitors crossed three times, Moseley lost three forwards to the sinbin and Palmer kicked a match-clinching 30-metre penalty four minutes from time.
The visitors got off to a flying start when former Cambridge centre James Ayrton regathered fly half Bradley Burr’s chip to send winger Chris Smith racing 40 metres diagonally to the line.
And the Red-and-Blacks then had to produce some determined last-ditch defence to deny Stortford no.8 Baxter Wilson following a front peel from a lineout on the home 22.
Although Wilson was then unable to hold Burr’s scoring pass, Stortford did soon add a second try when flanker James Apperley forced his way over following a series of forward thrusts.
After Burr’s conversion hit the post, the hosts proceeded to control a second quarter during which they claimed three converted tries.
The first of these was finished by flanker Morgan Dawes who was driven over from close range for a score which Palmer converted.
Mose then took full advantage of Jonny Arr’s pinpoint kick and Tony Worthington’s lineout steal to work Smith into the clubhouse corner.
Palmer tagged on the extras, and the former Cov No.10 split the uprights for a third time on the stroke of half-time after Smith wriggled past his opposite number for his second touchdown of the afternoon.
Palmer’s penalty extended Moseley’s advantage to 14 points early in the second half before home hooker Peter Austin was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle.
Although Burr’s penalty drifted wide, Stortford pressed hard during the resulting powerplay period, and eventually retained possession through a number of phases to work centre Sam Winter into the corner.
As Austin returned, home lock Danny Wright replaced him in the sinbin for killing the ball on the ground and Tom Walker narrowed Stortford’s deficit to six points with the resulting penalty.
Smith then completed his three-timer – and also logged a home try bonus point – when he showed the defence a clean pair of heels from 35 metres following some neat handling.
After Palmer retained his 100 per cent record from the kicking tee, Stortford exploited a five-metre attacking scrum against seven opponents to shunt Wilson over for their bonus point score which Walker converted.
The replacement’s second successful conversion then gave the visitors a 31-32 advantage after a well-timed midfield loop sent Chris Smith skating between the posts for his second try.
Palmer’s second penalty – awarded when Stortford infringed on the ground just outside their own 22 – put the hosts back in front four minutes from time.
A yellow card shown for a Buster Lawrence high tackle threw the visitors a late lifeline, but Moseley forced a turnover on halfway and in the process clinched all five points, while Stortford were forced to settle for two.
Birmingham Moseley: Povey; Smith, Joyce, Davetanivalu, Tonks; Palmer, Arr; Titchard-Jones, Austin, Dimen; Worthington, Wright; Lawrence, Dawes, Le Roux.
Replacements: Foreman, Tanner, Tideswell, Crofts, Jolly.
Bishop’s Stortford: M.Ayrton; Duff, Winter, J.Ayrton, Smith; Burr, Coleman; Brownhill, King, Harrison-Price; George, Lewis; Apperley, Ball, Wilson.
Replacements: Caulfield, Elsom, Walker, Nel, Keen.
Referee: Charlie Gayther
Birmingham Mail star man: Aquile Smith
Half-time: Birmingham Moseley 21-10 Bishop’s Stortford
Tries: Dawes (20), A.Smith (33) (40) (62)
Cons: Palmer (20) (33) (40) (62)
Pen: Palmer (44) (76)
Tries: C.Smith (2) (70), Apperley (19), Winter (50), Wilson (66)
Cons: Walker (66) (70)
Pens: Walker (60)
Report by Graham Cox, Blackheath
The latest repeat of the oldest club fixture in world rugby ended in the tightest of finishes, with Leo Fielding weaving a great run through a tiring Richmond defence to score in the left corner, and bring Blackheath within a point on 80 minutes.
However, in the deceptive breeze, the Club outside-centre couldn’t nail the touchline conversion, and Richmond held on for the narrowest of victories.
Frustrating for Blackheath who, arguably, had their best passage of play of the season to date in the first half, and lead at the interval with the only try of the opening period.
With their scrum having the visitors in turmoil, set-piece ball on halfway was moved to Mark Cooke, whose miss-pass found Fielding producing a delightful offload to Craig Dowsett, the wing evading the cover to race in from 50 metres. Fielding converted, but missed a relatively straightforward penalty soon after, while at the other end, Lewis Dennett knocked over a kick on half-time to leave the score at 7-3.
However, the third quarter belonged totally to the former Championship side, their experience at the higher level and ability to snap up half chances coming to the fore.
On 43 minutes a missed tackle allowed Ronnie McLean to make a superb break along the left flank into Blackheath territory, before finding fellow centre Cameron Mitchell, who in turn had Jamie Gibbs on his shoulder, the scrum-half also showing great pace to finish the move.
Dennett added a fine conversion and, soon after, another missed tackle enabled Richmond a further break, the ruck set just short for Charlie Gibbings to crash over from close-range.
In the 62nd minute, Gibbs once again demonstrated his speed, this time finding an inside ball for former Club wing Hamish Graham to score, putting the visitors firmly in the driving seat with a 20-7 advantage.
Nevertheless, Cooke’s long range punt put Blackheath back on the offensive, and as Richmond number-eight Jacob Parker was sent to sin-bin for killing the ball, and the Club continued to demolish the Surrey side’s scrum, the penalty try was awarded that brought them within range.
Fielding’s try was a wonderful solo effort and lifted the home support further, but it wasn’t quite enough.
Next Saturday Blackheath make the short trip to unbeaten Rosslyn Park. Kick-off at the Rock in Priory Lane is 3.00 pm.
Tries: Dowsett, Penalty try, Fielding
Tries: Gibbs, Gibbings, Graham
Report from Cinderford website.
Cinderford showed great strength of character to snatch a victory over Cambridge in the closing moments, having played for over an hour with 14 men following No8 Harry Hone’s dismissal for an alleged dangerous tackle.
Mike Mayhew put the home team ahead with a try from a driving maul, but the visitors soon responded in similar fashion when Hone touched down and Stefan Hawley landed the conversion. After Hone’s red card, his team went behind when Ned Brown forced his way over with Rhodri Adamson adding the extras to make it 12-7 at the interval.
Cinderford’s powerful forwards kept them in contention throughout and seven minutes into the second-half they levelled the scores when Nathan Taylor was driven over. Adamson put Cambridge back in front when he landed a penalty on a rare incursion into their opponents territory. The final ten minutes were all Cinderford as they battered away at the home line and were eventually rewarded when prop George Porter bundled his way over for the winning score, which Hawley converted.
Cinderford; Ed Sheldon, Sam Smith, Terence Babarinsa, Jack Hayes, Ed Bogue, Stef Hawley, Jimmy Williams, Joe Smart (Capt.), Nathan Taylor, James Elliot, Tyler Jerrum, Dale Lemon, Matthew Gilbert, Matt Lane, Harry Hone. Replacements; George Porter, Tim Brockett, Joe Mullis, Ben So’oialo Chan, Alex Frame.
BY JACK JOHNSON, Chinnor Rugby Club
Chinnor dig deep to secure bonus-point victory
TWO tries apiece from Joe Dancer and Jake Ashby helped Chinnor earn a bonus-point win over Hull Ionians in an energy-sapping encounter.
The home side never lost the lead in a bruising National League 1 fixture but the visitors, who started the weekend bottom of the table, made sure they were in a game.
Chinnor needed a late Laurence May penalty to ensure there was no late drama, but they were left with sore bodies as a number of players were forced off injured.
George Oliver suffered a knee injury just 26 minutes into the contest, while the hosts were forced to play centre Danny Barnes at flanker and hooker Dan George in the second row in the final half an hour.
Chinnor made eight changes for the fixture, three positional, as they targeted an immediate response to last weekend’s defeat at Richmond.
Scrum-half Ashby made his debut, while winger Josh Hodson was handed a first start of the season following his recovery from shoulder surgery.
Lock Dancer and Barnes were promoted from the bench, while Oliver replaced captain Carl Kirwan, who was rested, at open-side flanker.
There was also a reshuffle in the backs, with Chris Elder moved to full-back, Jason Worrall to outside centre and Will Harries to right wing.
Former Samoa captain Ofisa Treviranus led the side in Kirwan’s absence and they made a fast start.
May was off target with an early penalty, but it did not take long for Chinnor to open the scoring.
Elder brilliantly rode a challenge and fed Dancer who raced over to dot down under the posts. May converted to make it 7-0 after seven minutes.
Chinnor soon extended their lead to 12 points when they capitalised on a Hull error.
Ashby pounced on a loose ball from a ruck and fed Treviranus, who sent Hodson racing down the left.
The winger made up 30m before feeding Dancer and the lock dived over in the corner for his second. May was unable to add the extras from the touchline.
It was proving to be a hotly-contested affair in hot conditions and Oliver was forced off with a serious-looking knee injury.
But Chinnor always looked threatening and extended their lead to 19-0 on 33 minutes when Ashby crossed, May converting.
However, Hull responded well and got on the scoreboard just before half-time, when Tim Wakadu dived over, Seremaia Turagabeci converting, to cut the home side’s lead to 12 points at the break.
Chinnor made a double change at the interval, with Charley Robinson replacing Tom Fidler at loose-head and Sam Yawayawa coming on for Barnes at inside centre.
But Hull started the second period like they ended the first and Ben Bell was driven over for an unconverted try on 50 minutes to reduce the arrears to seven.
Chinnor needed to take back control of the game and they did just that moments later.
May did brilliantly to break the gain line and found Treviranus, who sent Ashby diving over under the posts for his second try. May added the extras to make it 26-12 after 54 minutes.
But just when Chinnor thought they had re-established control, Hull offered a reminder there was still life in the contest.
Due to injury, the hosts were forced to field five props in their pack, while Barnes operated as one of the flankers, but sustained pressure from the visitors led to Ben Whyte finding a gap to dive over. Marco Fummo converted to reduce the deficit to seven points with six minutes to play.
Hull were enjoying all the territory and Chinnor needed to gain control as the game entered the final stages.
They did exactly that and were able to breath a sigh of relief when May kicked an 80th-minute penalty to make sure of victory.
Chinnor: Elder, Harries, Worrall, Barnes, Hodson, May, Ashby, Fidler, Selway, McNulty, Thomas, Dancer, Treviranus, Oliver, W Ryan.
Replacements: Robinson, George, Manning, Yawayawa, C Ryan.
Hull Ionians: Colbourne, Ogunwole, Tincknell, Thundercliffe, Waqadu, Turagabeci, Fummo, Laverick, Stephenson, Bell, Makin, Peters, Mewburn, Sanderson, Torkington.
Replacements: Booth, Peace, Choudhury, Whyte, Flinn.
Report from Titans website
Rotherham Titans were agonisingly denied a famous win at Brickfields in the 84th minute when Plymouth Albion flanker George Mills barged over in the corner.
Titans had worked miracles to claw their way back into a contest that appeared to be a lost cause as early as the 25th minute as the hosts raced into a 19-0 lead, following a brace of tries from winger Josh Skelcey and one from blind side flanker Sam Daly.
Titans would have been disappointed with their lacklustre start and the portents for them were as dark as the clouds which loitered around Brickfields for much of the afternoon, before they eventually burst on full time.
However, a chink of light appeared on the half hour mark as Titans never-say-die attitude was rewarded when skipper Zak Poole showed terrific determination to stretch his way over following a period of forward pressure close to the Albion line.
The half time oranges would have tasted a little less sour on the back of Poole’s try as Titans went in at the break trailing 19-7.
Following a re-grouping at the interval Rotherham came out for the second period looking significantly sharper than they did at the outset.
On 46 minutes they nibbled into Albion lead when fly half Sam Hollingsworth slotted a straightforward penalty over from in front of the sticks.
Then a minute later Hollingsworth was in the thick of the action again; this time a superb deft chip over the top saw him collect his own kick, before slipping a neat pass to scrum half Connor Dever who showed terrific pace to race in from 40 metres. Hollingsworth conversion drew Titans to within two points at 19-17.
Disappointingly Rotherham ‘knocked off’ shortly afterwards which allowed the hosts to press deep inside their 22 and following a series of pick and goes, Albion fly half Dan Mugford collected to cross the whitewash.
Titans continued to look lively however and there was a threat about their work going forwards. Hollingsworth added another 3-pointer on the hour mark to reduce Rotherham’s arrears to 26-20.
Inside the final five minutes Rotherham thought they had their third try of the game to reduce their deficit to 1 point with the conversion to come, when Zak Poole charged over after collecting a loose ball. However, the officials deemed he knocked on over the line!
Two minutes from time a rampant Titans pack stole Albion ball at scrum time through number 8 Anthony Maka; the big back-rower showed huge determination and great strength to power over from the base to make it a one point game with the conversion to come. Replacement fly half Morgan Bunting stepped up to the plate to calmly slot over the extras and give Rotherham the lead.
However, with the penultimate play of the match and following a series of Albion pick and goes in the 84th minute, George Mills crossed to seal a barnstormer of a game for Plymouth.
A disappointed Anthony Posa reflected post-match, “Sport can be very cruel, but as I’ve just said to the boys now, we were not good enough in the first half, especially on defence where we got out played physically.
“However, at half time we addressed that and we took a bit of ownership and I’m really proud of the boys’ efforts in the second half. To come back from 19-0 down, then 19-7 down at half time and to put us in a position to win the game was outstanding.
“There were a couple of 50-50 calls that didn’t go our way. The yellow card hurt us and I’m sure if we’d had a TMO there would have been a different outcome because he’s attempted to catch it, but sometimes decisions go for you and sometimes they don’t.
“But we put ourselves in a position to suffer from those calls. We just have to be a bit more switched on and not give piggy-backs, because every score they got today was from a mistake by us. So there’s a way we can correct it without pointing the finger at anyone else.
“But I was extremely proud of the second half performance from the boys and it was a case of what might have been. It’s just gut-wrenching to lose after we put ourselves in a position to win it after being so far behind in the game.
“In the cold light of day we’ll take some consolation in taking a point from this one, as we know how difficult it is to come down here and get the win. But we can’t have patches like we had today in the opening 20 minutes where we were poor, because once you give any team in this division a 19 point start it’s a long way back.”
Referee: Ben Russell
Yellow Card: Hollingsworth (Titans)
Titans: Poole (T), Dever (T), Maka (T), Hollingsworth (2C, 2P), Bunting (1C)
Plymouth Albion: Skelcey (2T), Daly (T), Mills (T), Mugford (T, 4C)
Titans: 15 Tom Bacon, 14 Ben Robbins, 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Harry Dunne (Bunting 60), 11 Dan Leake, 10 Sam Hollingsworth, 9 Connor Dever, 1 Toby Williams (Whitfield 52), 2 Harry Newborn, 3 Will Dennis (R Ward 60), 4 Elliott Ward (Preston-Routledge 79), 5 Dan Preston-Routledge (Wilson 65), 6 Lewis Wilson (North 36), 7 Zak Poole (Capt.), 8 Anthony Maka.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Defelitto, 17 Harry Whitfield, 18 Reece Ward, 19 Alfie North, 20 Morgan Bunting.
Plymouth Albion: 15 Connor Eastgate (Squire 75), 14 Josh Skelcey, 13 Dan Powell, 12 Javiah Pohe, 11 Alex Ducker, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Pierre Thomspon (Setter 47), 1 Luke Chapman (Higgins 52), 2 Max Norey (Salter 59), 3 Dan Pullinger (Chapman 68) (Ingoldsby 79), 4 Dan Collier, 5 John Kelly, 6 Sam Daly, 7 George Mills, 8 Herbie Stupple (Capt.).
Replacements: 16 Jamie Salter, 17 Pete Ingoldsby, 18 Cam Setter, 19 Jack Higgins, 20 Dean Squire.