If they were any question marks about their title chances, Cambridge answered them this weekend after a remarkable comeback to stay 11 points clear at the summit of National Two South.
After being behind to the Old Elthamians, the league leaders proved why they are top of this division with a sensational turnaround while their nearest challengers, the Old Albanian, hammered a hapless Canterbury side.
Bishops Storford kept their thin play-off dream alive while Taunton’s seems all but over after defeat to an impressive Redruth outfit.
Down at the bottom, there was more joy for Bury St Edmunds, Redingensians and Chinnor as their recent good run of form continues while Launceston were the first casualty of this campaign as they relegation was confirmed away at Southend Saxons.
Cambridge 24-21 Old Elthamians
Cambridge produced a performance of ‘champions elect’ as they fought back from 5-21 down to beat the Old Elthamians 24-21 at Volac Park.
Craig Dowsett, Charles Edwards and Lee Nelmes scored the OE’s first-half tries after Lawrence Hutchinson’s early score had put Cambridge ahead.
Albert Portsmouth dotted down for the home side on the stroke of half-time to make it 12-21 before a brace from Stefan Liebenburg in the second period turned the game around to help Cambridge move 24-21 ahead with nine minutes remaining.
And that try was enough to give the league leaders their 21st win of the season and that leaves them 11 points clear of the top with six games left to play.
Old Albanian 71-12 Canterbury
The Old Albanian hit top gear to demolish Canterbury in St Albans to keep their title ambitions firmly on track.
The OA’s had a comfortable lead at half-time as a double from William Johnson and a try from Charlie Hughes gave them a 21-10 advantage.
A try by Guy Hilton and five points from Oliver Best kept Canterbury in the contest, but after the break, any hopes the City Men may have had disappeared in an instant.
Johnson completed his hat-trick while winger James Spiers also crossed three times in the second period.
Morgan Thompson, Johannes Lombaard, Nicholas Foster and Michael Allen all went over to complete the 11 try rout and leave the OA’s 11 points behind Cambridge with a game in hand.
Bishops Stortford 26-3 Clifton
Bishops Stortford aren’t giving up on the play-off place just yet as they picked up a bonus-point win at Silver Leys as they eased past Clifton.
It didn’t take long for Stortford to break past the Clifton defence as tries from Johnathan Neville and Nicholas Hankin helped them into a 14-3 half-time lead, Bradley Barnes responded from the tee for Clifton.
Dominic Morris added Stortford’s third try just before the hour and he also secured the bonus point and victory for his side four minutes from the end with his second score of the afternoon.
Stortford arrested a two game losing streak with this win and are now eight points behind the Old Albanian, having played a match more than the OA’s. As for Clifton, they remain eighth in the table.
Redruth 38-3 Taunton Titians
Redruth leapfrogged Taunton into fourth place after a commanding victory over the Titians at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.
Kyle Marriot, Thomas Cowen-Dickie and Matthew Boden all touched down to give the Reds a 21-3 lead at half-time, with Gary Kingdom replying.
Palepoi Nonu, Luke Hattam and Christopher Fuca scored Redruth’s other three tries in the contest after the break, to seal their seventh win from their last eight league matches.
This defeat for Taunton now leaves them 14 points off the play-off place with them having lost their last three games. It looks too much of an ask for the Titans to claw back that deficit with seven games left to play.
Bury St Edmunds 35-26 Barnes
Bury St Edmunds are now nine points clear of the relegation zone as they made it three wins in a row after a superb fight back against Barnes.
The away side were helped into an early 3-21 lead by converted tries from Simon Givens, Matthew Cornish and Daniel Holmes.
Sean Stapleton crossed for Bury before Matthew Hema also dotted down for the hosts to make it 17-21 just before the break.
And the hosts then completed their comeback shortly after half-time as scores from Pierre Peres and John Hall put them 27-21 in front.
Charles Wakeford hit back for Barnes to seal their bonus point and reduce the gap to a point, but in the end, Bury managed to see out game thanks to a late Matthew Edison try as their great run of form continues.
Dorking 7-13 Redingensians
The Redingensians’ sensational form also continued on Saturday as they came away from Dorking with a fifth straight win to leave them nine points clear of the relegation zone.
All the points were scored in the first period in this contest with Michael Chandler kicking eight points and Robbie Stapley touching down for the Rams to seal victory.
Dorking’s points came via a try from Charlie Jewers and a conversion from Matthew Noble, but they couldn’t find another way through in the second-half as this defeat leaves them in the bottom three and four points from safety.
Chinnor 38-8 Worthing Raiders
Another team that are currently in form are Chinnor who picked up their fourth straight victory thanks to a comfortable win over Worthing Raiders.
Chinnor were in the bottom three six weeks ago, but their revival has now seen them move up to 12th in the table and eight points clear of the drop zone.
Scores from Oscar Heath and Jonathan Phipps gave the home side a 14-8 lead at half-time in this encounter, with a penalty from Matthew McLean and a try from Finlay Coxon-Smith being the response from Worthing.
Alex Waddington and Jack Andrew sealed Chinnor’s bonus point after the interval before Benjamin Manning and Heath again, rounded off the scoring and the victory for the hosts.
Southend Saxons 19-13 Launceston
Launceston became the first team in National Two to be relegated this season after falling to their 22nd defeat of the campaign on Saturday against Southend Saxons.
The divisions’ bottom club haven’t won a game all term and their fate has now been officially sealed after 23 matches
They knew a win would give them a chance of not being relegated on the weekend and it started well for the away side as Sebastion Hockridge’s try and five points from the boot of Fraser Honey put them 0-10 ahead after 48 minutes.
Ill-discipline had cost Southend in the first half when fly-half Thomas Ashton was sin-binned and they should’ve been punished again when both Alan Barker and Ashton Bevans-Roysten were yellow-carded eight minutes into the second period.
Launceston’s Nicholas Hocking joined them in the bin making it 13 v14 and it was the 13 men of Southend that took the lead as Bradley Burr and Reuben Haile touched down to make it 12-10.
Honey added his second penalty of the afternoon on 71 minutes to give Launceston the lead once again, but a late Daniel Cleare try snatched that maiden win off the visitors and confirmed their relegation to National Three.
As for Southend, they lie one place above Launceston in the division and are now just five points from safety after picking up just their second win in 11 matches.