Bishop’s Stortford secure promotion from National Two South with win at Exmouth

Bishop's Stortford's players celebrate with family and friends after title win
©Bishop's Stortford Rugby Club

Bishop’s Stortford confirmed the National Two South title and automatic promotion to National One in Round 29 after victory at Exmouth.

Stortford knew a win was enough to send them up and, after running in 10 tries in Devon, Andy Long’s men secured promotion. This is the biggest achievement in the club’s 97 year history as Stortford now prepare for life in the third tier of English rugby.

Below the newly crowned champions, the race for the play-off spot has gone right down to the wire as both Old Elthamians and Chinnor secured bonus-point wins against Cinderford and Taunton Titans respectively.

Elsewhere in National Two South, the relegation battle took yet another twist in as Worthing Raiders slipped into the bottom three after they lost to Redingensians and London Irish Wild Geese grabbed a last-gasp win away at Redruth.

Added to that, relegation candidates Barnes have given themselves hope after an excellent home win over Clifton while Barnstaple are still not out of the woods just yet after defeat at Henley Hawks.

Exmouth 7-60 Bishop’s Stortford

Bishop’s Stortford have won the National Two South title and clinched automatic promotion to National One as they beat Exmouth.

Andy Long’s men knew before this match that they required just a win to seal their place in the third tier of English rugby and they achieved that aim with minimal fuss.

Will Simmonds scored a second-half hat-trick against an Exmouth side that have already been relegated.

Jimmy Rea, Johnny Neville, Tom Banks, Steve Ball and James Apperley all crossed in the first period to give Stortford a 33-7 half-time lead, with James Harris going over for Exmouth.

Simmonds turned on the style after the break while Nick Hankin and Dan Elsom also scored to complete Stortford’s greatest day in the club’s history.

Cinderford 12-55 Old Elthamians

A superb display by Tom White and an excellent second period helped Old Elthamians secure a seven-try win over Cinderford to keep them on course for second place in National Two South.

Play-off chasing OEs have been rampant in recent weeks and they continued in that manner on Saturday, scoring through Dom Lespierre, Truman Sullivan and Mike Denbee in the first-half while White kicked 12 points.

Tries from George Porter and Sam Baker gave Cinderford hope, but they capitulated after the break.

Lespierre and Denbee both crossed again while Freddie Hosking and Ollie Claxon also went over for converted tries to edge OEs closer to the National Two play-off.

Chinnor 38-29 Taunton Titians

Chinnor ran in six tries to ensure that the race for the play-off spot in National Two South will go down to the final day of the season as they came from behind to beat Taunton Titans.

Matt Williams’ side were trailing at the break as a brace from Jon Gatford and a try by Arron Gibbs gave Taunton a 19-7 lead in a half that saw Alex Bradley yellow-carded for Chinnor.

Tom Burns scored Chinnor’s only try of the first period and he opened the scoring after the restart to cut Taunton’s lead to just 10 points.

Chinnor reduced the arrears further when they were awarded a penalty try before they went ahead in this contest thanks to Charlie Broughton’s score on the hour.

Further tries from Danny Barnes and Jamie Townsend ultimately sealed the win for Chinnor, but Taunton did have the final say on proceedings as they salvaged a bonus-point via Lewis Webb.

Redruth 21-22 London Irish Wild Geese

Peter Hodgkinson’s conversion with the last kick of the game gave relegation threatened London Irish Wild Geese a vital and dramatic win over Redruth.

The Reds have been 21-15 ahead going into the final minutes of this encounter after tries from Tommy Phillips (2) and Barrie John-Chapman.

But George Drye’s try put the Wild Geese a single point behind before Hodgkinson kept his cool to slot between the posts and send his side out of the relegation places with just a game remaining.

Backs Tyler Bush and George Owen had gone over earlier for the away side, who are now just a point clear of the drop following this pulsating encounter.

Redingensians 43-27 Worthing Raiders

Worthing Raiders have slipped back into the relegation places in National Two South as Ben Henderson and Robbie Stapley both scored twice to help Redingensians move up to sixth position in the table.

The hosts led 26-17 after a fairly even first period with Ross Crame, Greg Illingworth, Connor Corrigan and Henderson crossing for the hosts while Kiba Richards, Joe Watson-Brooks and Finlay Coxon-Smith responded for the Raiders.

Henderson and Forest exchanged tries after the break as Worthing kept in touch with Redingensians, but a brace from Stapley in the final three minutes took the game away from the Raiders who are now two points from safety with one game remaining.

Bury St Edmunds 13-14 Canterbury

Canterbury edged a close encounter with Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk as they secured their sixth and final away win of the season.

Bury took an early 8-0 lead courtesy of Matt Edison’s finish and a Donovan O’Grady penalty.

But after some resolute defensive work by the visitors, hooker Sam Rogers responded and Tom Best converted to reduce Bury’s lead to just a point at the break.

The hosts were able to stretch their lead after the interval as Steve Snelling dotted down after another spell of Bury pressure which had been a theme of the first period.

However, Canterbury’s reply was instant. Dan Smart’s try made it a one-point game, but Best held his nerve to slot over the resulting conversion and seal a much needed win for the City Men.

Henley Hawks 52-27 Barnstaple

Barnstaple are now only one point clear of the relegation places in National Two South after defeat against Henley Hawks.

The home side had the four-try bonus point bagged in the first period thanks to Tom Emery, Sam Portland, Xavier Andre and Dave Hyde.

But, Barnstaple were only two points behind their opponents heading into the interval as three quick-fire tries from Toby Williamson and Will Topps (2) made the score 24-22.

The Hawks took control after the restart as Harry Burn, Rob Bell, Marcus Lowe and Emery all touched down to put the game out of Barnstaple’s reach.

Barum gamely registered a bonus-point try late on through Kevin Angel which could prove vital next weekend.

Barnes 47-19 Clifton

Barnes beat Clifton in National Two South and secured a bonus-point win to keep their hopes of avoiding relegation alive.

Fraser Carlisle and Dave Butler crossed for the hosts inside 35 minutes.

And a converted close range try gave them a 19-12 interval lead before Barnes ran riot in the second half.

The home side added four more tries with Robbie Martey crossing right at the end to seal Barnes’ second win in a row which leaves them three points from safety heading into the final weekend of the season.

National League Rugby