Normally our reviews begin by highlighting the key talking points or standout results from the weekend, but for this National Two North round-up, rugby pales into insignificance.
On Saturday morning, we woke up to the tragic news regarding Scunthorpe RUFC’s James Walker who sadly passed away ahead of their scheduled fixture with Chester.
The game was postponed as a mark of respect and both ‘Talking Rugby Union’ and the NCA would like to send our thoughts and prayers to James’ family, friends, teammates and everyone connected to Scunthorpe RUFC.
In terms of the rugby this weekend, Fylde were able to stay at the summit of the division despite seeing their unbeaten record come to an end in their top of the table battle with Caldy.
The Lancashire club are one point clear of Caldy, but Gareth Davies’ second-placed side have a game in hand to come.
Sheffield Tigers (3rd) are now the closest challengers to the front two as Jamie Broadley’s side continued their impressive form with a hard-fought victory over Hull whilst Sedgley Park dropped to fourth after losing at Loughborough Students.
Tynedale’s Rob Pike and Stourbridge’s Dan Rundle both scored hat-tricks for their clubs in victories over Huddersfield and Wharfedale, respectively, whilst Otley came from behind to beat Luctonians and Hinckley secured an excellent win against Preston Grasshoppers.
Caldy 25-18 Fylde
Fylde remain at the summit of National Two North despite losing their top of the table clash with Caldy at Paton Field.
Warren Spragg’s side sit one point clear of the Wirral outfit, but Caldy do have a game in hand to come against Sedgley Park.
Tries from Nick Royle and Mike Barlow helped build a 17-10 home lead, with Tom Carleton crossing for Fylde.
It was first blood to Caldy after the break as Ed Stagg dotted down, but Fylde hit back through Carleton to make it 22-15.
However, a second penalty of the afternoon for Gavin Roberts ultimately ensured the home win whilst Fylde were able to snatch a losing bonus-point via Greg Smith’s kick, which keeps them in top spot.
Sheffield Tigers 12-9 Hull
Sheffield Tigers secured a late win over Hull to move up to third place in the league standings.
Two penalties from Mark Ireland helped the hosts into a 6-0 lead at the break, but by the hour, the Tigers were behind.
Ireland’s opposite number, Simon Humberstone, kicked three penalties but it was the home fly-half who had the last laugh as a kick just after the hour levelled things up before a penalty on 78 minutes clinched a fourth win on the spin for Jamie Broadley’s side.
Loughborough Students 23-18 Sedgley Park
Sedgley Park fell to their second defeat of the campaign as they were beaten by Loughborough Students in the Midlands.
This loss for Sedge has seen them slip down to fourth in the table and they are now eight points behind second-placed Caldy.
Tries from Will Kaye and Andrew Bywater, as well as 13 points from the boot of Owen Waters, sealed victory for the Students.
Sedge held the lead for just six minutes in this contest despite Mark Goodman, Tom Ailes and Jamie Harrison all crossing.
Tynedale 33-18 Huddersfield
Clinical Tynedale extended their unbeaten to four matches with a win over Huddersfield at Corbridge.
Ben Woods’ side produced a very strong performance in the first 40 to lead 26-8 at half-time thanks to two tries by wing Guy Pike as well as efforts from Jake Rodgers and Callum Pascoe.
Pike was able to secure his hat-trick in the second period as the North-East club sealed their fourth victory of the campaign.
Huddersfield scored through Ross Whitmore in the opening period before Richard Piper and Kian Stewart crossed after the break, but this was another tough afternoon for Gareth Lewis’ charges.
Stourbridge 43-19 Wharfedale
Dan Rundle scored a hat-trick as Stourbridge eventually cruised to a victory over Wharfedale in National Two North.
Callum Morris’ early try was added to by Rundle, before Rob Baldwin went over for the visitors.
Mark George’s score was matched by Wharfedale’s Matt Speres, but Joe Heatley’s effort on the stroke of half-time opened up a 14-point lead for Stour.
Speres’ second score after the break gave Dale some hope of coming back into this contest, especially as Stour had three players yellow-carded in the space of 12 minutes, but a blistering final quarter from the home side made sure of the victory.
Rundle raced over for his hat-trick whilst Heatley grabbed his second to wrap up back-to-back home wins for Stour.
Luctonians 15-20 Otley
Otley secured back-to-back wins as they came from behind to clinch a hard-earned victory over Luctonians.
The Lucts led 15-3 at the break after tries from Frank Kelly and Rob Lewis, with a conversion and penalty coming from Will Burton.
Joe Rowntree kicked a first half penalty for Otley and the visitors sparked into life in the second period to turn this game around.
Three tries in 10 minutes from Fred Watson, Brett Mitchell and Paul Petchey was enough for Otley to seal the win whilst Luctonians slumped to their seventh loss of the campaign.
Hinckley 27-17 Preston Grasshoppers
Hinckley clinched successive victories for the second time this season as they defeated Preston Grasshoppers at Leicester Road.
The hosts scored the first two tries of the match, early in the first half through Ben Marshall and Sam Greening.
Hinckley fought off a battling @RugbyHoppers side to come away with the win on Saturday - Marshall, Greening and O Povoas scored the tries with 12 points from @Mr_Joe_Wilson - these are the highlights @nca_rugby @nat2rugbynorth #n2n pic.twitter.com/ZsHH9d7xTa— Hinckley Rugby (@Hinckley_Rugby) November 3, 2019
The Hoppers responded either side of the break as scores from Jacob Browne and Sam Stott reduced the deficit to four points, but the Hornets took control once again.
Oli Povoas’ converted effort and a penalty from Joe Wilson made it 24-10 and despite Jordan Dorrington going over for the visitors, another three points from the boot of Wilson sealed back-to-back wins for Hinckley.
Chester P-P Scunthorpe