Blackheath dent Chinnor hopes, Stortford success sparks survival bid and Dons deliver perfect response

Bishop's Stortford clinched a huge result away at Sedgley Park in National One
©Glenn Hutton

Surprise results, winning streaks and developing title races were all mixed together to create yet another excellent round of National League Rugby action.

National One

League leaders Chinnor had their promotion aspirations dented against Blackheath at Well Hall as the table-toppers fell to a 22-17 defeat.

Nick Easter's troops had entered Round 19 on a nine-match winning run but were halted by 'Club' who secured their first home victory since November. Blackheath led 14-12 at the interval, with Tom Everard and Will Davis going over, while Josh Gillespie and Alun Walker dotted down for Chinnor.

But Markus Burcham's try and a penalty from Tom Ffitch earned a welcome home win for Blackheath despite Nick Smith going over late on.

The losing bonus point for Chinnor keeps them in top spot but they are now level on points with Rams RFC (2nd) as a powerful first-half performance against Leicester Lions helped them to a 33-12 success.

There was also another twist at the bottom of National One as Bishop's Stortford arrested a run of six straight defeats to secure a 22-14 win away at Sedgley Park. The result for Marcus Cattell's men moves them out of the drop zone and one point clear of the dreaded dotted line as Stortford were the only side in the bottom five to claim a victory.

Taunton Titans fell to the foot of the division after losing 38-14 at Rosslyn Park (5th) while Cinderford have joined them in the relegation places following a 24-3 defeat at Plymouth Albion (4th).

Elsewhere, Sale FC's recent renaissance was halted by Richmond (7th) who ran in five tries to record a 31-19 triumph.

Also in National One, Birmingham Moseley (3rd) fought back to defeat Darlington Mowden Park (6th) 32-28 to seal a fourth win on the bounce.

National Two North

Rotherham Titans continue to put the pressure on relentless league leaders Leeds Tykes after a 32-14 win over third-placed Sheffield.

Tries from Callum Bustin, National Two North Player of the Week Harry Newborn and Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier helped the title challengers into a 22-7 lead at the break.

Tomasi Tanumi's effort and a second for Newborn cemented the victory for Rotherham with Ryan Burrows adding to Elliot Fisher's score for Sheffield, who saw their 11-match unbeaten run come to an end.

The victory for the Titans leaves them 11 points behind Leeds Tykes - with a game in hand - as the table-toppers stretched their remarkable winning sequence to 19 games after a 45-14 triumph away at Preston Grasshoppers.

At the foot of the table, Hull Ionians dropped back into the bottom two after losing 39-19 away at Wharfedale (4th) with rivals Billingham leapfrogging the Yorkshire outfit after pocketing a losing bonus point in their 40-34 home defeat against Hull.

The North-East side are level on points with Hull Ionians but are out of the 'danger zone' because they have recorded more wins than the I's.

And below this pair are Huddersfield, who so nearly gave their survival hopes a serious boost against Sheffield Tigers (6th). Field took full advantage of a red card shown to Tigers' Curtis Wilson and did lead 32-24 with five minutes remaining only for Karl Garside's converted try and a last-gasp penalty from Will Baker to snatch at the death.

Meanwhile, Fylde were made to rue their indiscipline as they lost 45-22 to Tynedale and Lymm (10th) picked up a timely 15-14 victory over Otley to move them away from the epicentre of any relegation battle.

National Two East

Wimbledon (12th) produced the perfect response to Round 18's gut-wrenching defeat by snatching a 31-27 victory over Bury St Edmunds (4th).

The previous week, the Dons had lost very late on against Old Albanian but this time Collin Osborne's men were on the right side of the story in Suffolk thanks to Ed Morgan's 79th-minute try.

Bury did lead at half-time following scores from Harry Simpson, Patrick Robinson and Joe Collier while a brace from Wimbledon's David Aniebonam made it 17-14.

Morgan levelled things up from the tee before exchanging scores with Levi Roper as things remained all square heading into the final 10 minutes. A penalty from Ben Penfold nudged the hosts ahead but Morgan sniped his way over the line to clinch a fourth victory of the season for Wimbledon.

The result has moved the Dons out of the bottom two and they are level on 33 points with Worthing (13th) who battled to a try-bonus point in their 39-26 loss away at Old Albanian (8th).

At the top, Esher (1st) made it 12 straight wins as a dominant first-half display helped them to a 31-26 win over Henley Hawks despite Luke Allen's boys roaring back in the second half.

Barnes (2nd) and Dorking (3rd) remain five points behind the league leaders [albeit having played a game more] after the duo both picked up maximums. Barnes sealed a gritty 29-20 win at Canterbury while Dorking departed Guernsey Raiders with a 36-12 success.

Elsewhere, Sevenoaks (9th) made it five home wins in a row and secured some local bragging rights after beating Tonbridge Juddians (6th) 24-22 while Westcombe Park full-back Toby Wallace starred as his four tries earned the London club a 47-39 triumph over bottom of the table North Walsham.

National Two West

All roads lead to a potential title decider this coming Saturday in National Two West as the top two - Luctonians and Dings Crusaders - both continued their fine form in Round 19.

Second-placed Dings overcame a half-time deficit to beat Bristol neighbours Old Redcliffians (8th) 35-17 as they extended their unbeaten run to 14 matches.

Harry O'Donnell and Andrew Butler tries - plus an Ashley Groves penalty - put Old Reds seven points ahead, with Dings responding via Harry Hone and Will Thompson.

But the home side controlled the scoreboard after the interval as Oliver Bilton, Hone and Tom Hargan all crossed with Jacob Perry and Sam Worsley kicking 10 points between them.

The result keeps Stean Williams' men six points behind league leaders Luctonians ahead of their impending trip to Mortimer Park after the table-toppers hammered relegation-threatened Newport (Salop) 50-5 away from home.

Dings have won the last three meetings against Lucs - including a 17-15 victory earlier in the campaign - so there will be plenty on the line in Round 20.

At the wrong end of the division, Newport's defeat leaves them with work to do if they are to avoid the drop and the same applies to bottom-of-the-table Dudley Kingswinford who fell to a 31-7 loss at Camborne (6th).

Elsewhere, Exeter University are up to third after a 24-10 win over Bournville and Clifton lifted themselves to fourth after scoring 26 unanswered points to defeat Hinckley 31-21.

Meanwhile, Loughborough Students ended Redruth's recent good form with a 33-22 victory and Hornets full-back Charlie Carter scored 15 points to help his side defeat Chester 20-13 at Hare Lane.

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