National League Two Division North Update and Preview

Otley had an impressive win against Ionians over the weekend
Otley had an impressive win against Ionians over the weekend
©Hull Ionians

The Christmas spirit is long gone and the main focus is back to playing rugby for the National Two North sides. Here is what happened before the Christmas break and on the first weekend of 2015. We will also be looking ahead to this weekend’s fixtures.

Hull Ionians

Well, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end and that is exactly what happened to Hull Ionians last Saturday. Before Christmas they beat city rivals Hull 29-6 to make it just one defeat in their last 32 National Two matches. But Otley ended this run on Saturday as they came away with a 12-6 victory thanks to a dominant display by their forwards.  The I’s are now just four points clear at the top of the division.

Ampthill and District

It has been a two horse race for the title for a number of weeks now and Ampthill took advantage of Hull Ionians’ slip up as they beat Sedgley Park 27-8 last weekend, but they may feel they could be top of this league. The reason for this is because they lost 30-19 to Leicester Lions before the Christmas break, but they are still very much in touching distance of top spot.


Harrogate’s five game winning run as seen them move to third in the table. They finished 2014 with a 29-13 win over Huddersfield and then backed that up with excellent 12-19 win against fourth placed Caldy- who before that game had won every home game this season.  They are a mammoth 15 points behind Ampthill and despite them being third they are just eight points clear of seventh placed Sedgley Park.


That defeat for Caldy ended their eight game winning run at Paton Fields, but two defeats in their last nine as seen them move into the top four. They ended last year with a good 18-30 win away at sixth placed Chester. Caldy are just three points behind Harrogate.


Otley probably do have the result of the season so far after that win against Hull Ionians.  After a difficult November where they lost three of their five matches, they won two of their three matches in December including a narrow 24-25 win against Preston Grasshoppers and started the New Year with that tremendous win over the league leaders. Otley currently lie in fifth place and are level on points with Caldy.


I feel things just haven’t been the same since Nic Corrigan left his position as Chester coach to become Director of Rugby at National One side Cinderford.  Corrigan left Chester before they faced Hull Ionians on 15th November when the side were on a six match winning run. However, they have lost five of their seven matches since then and find themselves sixth in the table. They have lost their last three matches which include that defeat to Caldy before Christmas and they were stunned by 15th placed Hull last weekend  as they were beaten 27-22.

Sedgley Park

Unfortunately, the word inconsistency springs to mind when talking about Sedgley Park. They have not been able to string a good run of results together to cement their place in the top four and because of that they are now seventh in the league. Before Christmas, they saw of Stockport 56-5 but they did lose to Ampthill last Saturday.  Their last six results = Three wins; Three defeats.

Leicester Lions

After being mid-table for the majority of 2014 and then slipping into the bottom half, the Lions are now back up to eight position after three straight wins. They shocked Ampthill before the Christmas break and started 2015 with a vital 20-22 win over Stourbridge which was just their second away win all season.  They will be looking to carry their good form into this weekend.


Heading into the bottom half and we start with Broadstreet; a side who I think did not want the Christmas break to come. After being 15th for a lot of the season they seemed to switch on when it came to November and now find themselves in ninth after five wins in their last six games. They finished 2014 off with a 41-21 win over Birmingham and Solihull and started the New Year with a 23-14 win over Preston Grasshoppers. The only way is up it seems for Broadstreet.


Stour may want to forget about the first four months of the season. After coming so close to promotion last season, injuries have hampered any hopes they had of going one better this year. They lie 10th in the table having lost their last two games. They were beaten 26-14 by the Luctonians before the New Year and then lost that game to Leicester Lions last weekend.


Huddersfield are still very much holding their own since being promoted last season and are 11th in the table. They lost to Harrogate before the Christmas break, but did start 2015 with a win as they beat the Luctonians 19-12. The perfect start for Field.

Birmingham and Solihull

The Bees performed admirably towards the end of 2014 as they moved away from the relegation zone with good performances and decent results. However, their last two results have stopped their progress. They lost to Broadstreet before Christmas, but then only managed a 27-27 draw away to Stockport. The Bees described their performance in that game as ‘Not their finest hour of rugby this season.’

Preston Grasshoppers

It has been a disappointing season for Preston so far. After being tipped to finish high up in the table, they have not reached expectations and they are languishing in 13th place. They currently have the worst form in the league and lost to Otley in their last game before Christmas and started 2015 with a defeat to Broadstreet.


The Luctonians have picked up 11 bonus points this season which is certainly helping them in their attempts to beat the drop.  They went on a six game losing streak, but ended that just before Christmas with a great win at home to Stourbridge. That momentum was slightly dented when they lost to Huddersfield on Saturday, but once again it was another bonus point for the Luctonians.


Hull are currently 15th but only five points away from getting out of the drop zone. They lost the derby to Hull Ionians before Christmas, but started their revival with a superb win against Chester last weekend. 


And last and by no means least are Stockport. After returning to National Two this season, they have suffered a staggering amount of injuries which has not helped them move away from the bottom of this division. They have lost 15 of their 17 matches this season which included that defeat to Sedgley Park just before the Christmas break, but they came away with a draw from their opening game of 2015 against Birmingham and Solihull which they perhaps deserved to win.

This weekend’s fixtures

Hull Ionians v Broadstreet

Hull Ionians will be hoping their defeat to Otley is just a blip and not a 2015 curse as they entertain Broadstreet at Brantingham Park this Saturday. The I’s have won their last 24 matches at home in this division and they did beat Broadstreet 19-36 earlier in the season. As for Broadstreet, they have won four of their six away matches this season and have lost just once in their last five matches overall.  Broadstreet will be full of confidence heading into this one.

Birmingham and Solihull v Ampthill and District

Ampthill know if Hull Ionians were to drop points this weekend, they can return to the top of the table but they have a job to do first at Portway against The Bees. Ampthill have won five of their eight away matches this season and were beaten by Leicester Lions in their last away game.  Birmingham and Solihull lost 33-17 in the reserve fixture this season and their home form hasn’t been particularly good.  They have won just once in nine matches on home soil this season so Ampthill go into this game as firm favourites.

Harrogate v Hull

Harrogate welcome Hull to The County Ground this weekend looking to extend their winning run to six matches. The hosts have lost just once in nine games this season and have lost just once at home all season and that came on the opening day against Stourbridge. As for Hull, they kicked off 2015 with a win against Chester and will be hoping to cause another upset on Saturday. They have won just once in their last five, but have a better away record then they do at home this season. They have won three of their six away matches this season.  It was honours even earlier in the campaign as the sides drew 20-20 in Hull.

Luctonians v Caldy

Caldy will be hoping for their first win of 2015 this weekend when they travel to Hereford to play the Luctonians. The fourth placed side have only won three of their eight away games this season but they have won their last two on the road.  Also Caldy have lost just twice in nine matches. As for the Luctonians, they have won just once in their last five matches and won just three times at Mortimer Park this season.  Caldy won 43-36 in this fixture back in September.

Chester v Otley

Otley will be in a buoyant mood as they travel to Hare Lane this weekend as fifth take on sixth in the league. Otley have won four of their last five games, but have won just three away games all season. They did win on their last away trip when they played Preston Grasshoppers. Otley will also be looking to take advantage of Chester’s poor run of form as the hosts have lost their last three matches.  Chester have won seven home matches this season and they will be looking for revenge after they were beaten 23-5 by Otley in September.

Leicester Lions v Sedgley Park

We have fifth v sixth and now we have seventh v eight in the table as Leicester host Sedgley Park this weekend. Sedgley have had a mixed bag of results lately having won three of their last six games, but they do possess the quality to get a result this weekend. The Tigers have only won twice on their travels this season which came against Birmingham and Solihull and bottom club Stockport in the first five games of the season. As for The Lions, they will be hoping to extend their winning streak to four matches on Saturday and they have won seven of their nine games at home this season. Leicester did beat Sedgley 39-20 earlier in the campaign.

Stourbridge v Huddersfield

Stour’s New Year’s Resolution might well have been not to pick up as many injuries as they have in order for them to challenge for promotion next season. The number of players which they have had out as halted their progress and they take on Huddersfield who are just once place behind them in the table. Stour have won just two of their last five matches and have won four games at home this season. As for Huddersfield they beat Stourbridge 10-7 earlier on in the season and will be hoping to pick up their third way win of the season this Saturday.

Preston Grasshoppers v Stockport

The Grasshoppers have really struggled this season and they are desperate for a win to end a run of five straight defeats. A late Oliver Carter try saw Preston steal the points in an 18-19 win when the sides met at Headlands Road in September. Preston have won three times at Lightfoot Green this season whereas Stockport are still yet to win on the road. However, the visitors will carry some confidence into the game on Saturday after their draw with Birmingham and Solihull last weekend. Stockport have never beaten the Grasshoppers.

National League Rugby