Bishop’s Stortford edge closer to the title after Chinnor slip-up

Bishop's Stortford strengthened their grip on top spot after Chinnor failed to win
©Andy Todd

Bishop’s Stortford’s lead at the top of National Two South is now 10 points after their victory over Redruth and Chinnor’s surprising loss away at Clifton.

Storford produced a fine performance to secure their ninth straight win while second placed Chinnor suffered their first defeat in nine matches which has now dented their title aspirations.

The top two clash next weekend at Kingsey Road with the hosts Chinnor knowing that anything less than a victory in Round 27 would more or less end their automatic promotion hopes.

Chinnor may also be worried about staying in the top two positions as third place Old Elthamians are just a point outside the promotion spots after demolishing bottom of the table Exmouth on the weekend.

Including Exmouth, the bottom six teams all failed to secure victories this weekend while Bury St Edmunds were the side to profit the most as they look to have secured their status in this division for another year.

Bishop’s Stortford 32-7 Redruth

Bishop’s Stortford once again highlighted their title and promotion credentials as they put in a professional display to beat Redruth.

Will Simmonds burrowed over in the 35th minute for Stortford before Jimmy Rea followed suit to put the hosts 15-0 ahead.

Redruth’s resolute defence was worn down after the break as Will Roberts claimed Stortford’s third try.

Rea added his second before replacement Declan Caulfield grabbed the hosts’ fifth score of the afternoon.

Redruth then claimed some pride from a tough afternoon as Jack Oulton darted over following a yellow-card to Stortford flanker Dan Elsom, but the job was already completed for the home side.

Clifton 33-17 Chinnor

Chinnor’s title ambitions suffered a major setback as they were beaten by Clifton at Station Road.

Finlay Sharp’s neat early score put the hosts ahead before Alex Giltrow crossed from a rolling maul to give Clifton a 14-0 half-time lead.

The South Gloucestershire side picked up from where they left off in the first-half as Sam Harrison increased their advantage capitalising on Chinnor’s ill-discipline, but the visitors finally got on scoresheet as Jonny Bentley converted his own try.

Chinnor looked reenergised by Bentley’s score and when Koree Britton crossed on 53 minutes, Matt Williams’ men were right back in this contest.

However, a change in approach allowed Clifton to regain control of this match as Malcom Peacock scored just after the hour.

Three minutes from time, Bentley grabbed his second of the afternoon to set-up a tense finish but a length of the field try from Will Pomphrey sealed the win for Clifton and dented Chinnor’s title chances.

Old Elthamians 97-7 Exmouth

Old Elthamians are now just a point behind second placed Chinnor after they thrashed bottom of the table Exmouth at College Meadows.

OEs were out of sight at half-time as Alex Brown and Tom White both scored twice while Dominic Lespierre, Adam Preocanin and James Golledge also went over.

There was no let-up after the break by the OEs as Brown completed a fine hat-trick, while Lespierre and Golledge grabbed their second scores of the afternoon.

Nathan Morris, Huw Roberts, George Messum and Sam Waltier also crossed in the 15-try rout while Exmouth’s only score came late on from their first foray into the OEs 22.

Taunton Titans 39-20 London Irish Wild Geese

Freddie Fraser scored a hat-trick as Taunton Titans sealed victory over relegation threatened London Irish Wild Geese at Hyde Park.

The Titians had to work hard for this victory which was reflected in their 13-10 half-time lead. Gary Kingdom slotted two penalties while Fraser dotted down his first try of the afternoon.

Wild Geese’s scores came via Kerry O’Sullivan and George Owen in a first 40 minutes where they more than matched their opponents and soon after the break, they were level via an Oliver Tuner penalty.

Dan Frost was shown a yellow-card in the lead up to Turner’s three points, but the 14-men of Taunton regained the lead as Nick Mason and then Fraser crossed.

But even when Taunton were back to full strength, Wild Geese responded yet again as Karl Gibson reduced the deficit to five points.

However, that was as good as it got for the visitors as Fraser completed his hat-trick before Mason grabbed his second to clinch the win for Taunton which leaves them 11 points behind second placed Chinnor.

Cinderford 24-14 Barnes

Barnes’ winless run continued and they remain in the bottom two despite a spirited second-half performance against Cinderford at Dockham Road.

The hosts held a comfortable 17-0 lead at the break, with George Evans and Alex Frame crossing while James Moffat kicked the extras.

With the weather conditions now in their favour, Barnes began the second period on the front foot as Gareth Williams-Davies went over but his try was swiftly cancelled out by a Sam Goatley score.

Barnes rallied once again as David Butler darted over, but some strong defence from Cinderford kept the visitors out as the London-based side fell to their eighth straight defeat.

Canterbury 0-15 Redingensians

Redingensians further cemented their position in the top seven of the National Two South table after an away victory at Canterbury.

Jacob Atkins’ 39th-minute penalty was the only first-half score after a cagey opening period in Kent.

However, Redingensians upped the pace after the break and Oliver Taylor’s try put them in control, but Atkins failed with the conversion.

Atkins made amends 10 minutes later as he converted a Penalty Try to seal the win for the Rams who have now won six of their last seven matches while Canterbury have lost their last five.

Worthing Raiders 24-47 Henley Hawks

Hat-tricks from Alan Awcock and Tom Hall helped Henley Hawks secure their fourth win in five matches as they beat Worthing Raiders at Roundstone Lane.

Two tries from Hall and one apiece for Awcock and Sam Portland put Henley 26-0 ahead, before Jon Whittall crossed for the hosts.

Any hopes Worthing had of a comeback looked over when Awcock grabbed his second soon after the interval, but Joe Watson-Brooks’ try made it 33-14.

Hall and Awcock then completed their hat-tricks either side of the hour to ultimately seal the win before the Raiders bagged a losing-bonus point in the final 25 minutes.

Watson-Brooks claimed his second score before Finlay Coxon-Smith powered over six minutes from time. This result for Worthing now leaves them five points clear of the relegation places.

Barnstaple 3-29 Bury St Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds took a huge step to securing their status in National Two South for another season after a hard-fought win over Barnstaple at Pottingham Road.

Bury have now won their last three games and are 15 points clear of the drop with four games left of the campaign.

The visitors went ahead through a Chris Snelling try after Matt Hague was sent-off for Barnstaple and the Wolfpack took advantage of the extra man to lead 15-3 at the break thanks to a Maku Koroiyadi try.

Fly-half Will Affleck scored a try early in the second half and centre Shaq Meyers added a third at the end.

National League Rugby