Rosslyn Park’s National One promotion hopes were dented in Round 20 after they lost to Plymouth Albion.
Kieran Power’s side fell to their second away defeat in a row and it leaves Park seven points behind leaders Richmond, who eventually surged to victory against Bishop’s Stortford.
Rams RFC are still in the thick of things after beating Hull Ionians whilst down at the bottom both Birmingham Moseley and Rotherham Titans secured bonus-points in defeats against Old Elthamians and Darlington Mowden Park, respectively.
Elsewhere, Chinnor and Cambridge secured very late wins whilst Blackheath stormed back to defeat Sale FC.
Richmond 51-10 Bishop’s Stortford
Richmond secured an excellent bonus-point victory over Bishop’s Stortford to remain on top of National One.
Steve Hill’s men began the day in pole position and they will now head into the final 10 matches of the season at the summit.
With a quarter of the game to go, Richmond led 20-10, but the hosts ran in 31 unanswered points in a blistering conclusion at the Athletic Ground.
Jesse Liston, Louis Lynagh, Callum Torpey, Ronnie McLean and Cam Mitchell all went over in the final 20 minutes for Richmond.
Lynagh and Mitchell also crossed in the first-half, but at this point, Stortford were only trailing by seven points following a converted try and penalty from George Cullen.
Hull Ionians 13-40 Rams RFC
Jak Rossiter scored twice as Rams RFC kept the pressure on league leaders Richmond following a bonus-point win over relegation-threatened Hull Ionians.
Rossiter’s early effort got the ball rolling for Rams and a penalty try, plus Ollie Taylor’s score, gave the visitors a 19-5 lead at the break, with Jack Colbourne squeezing over for Hull Ionians.
At the beginning of the second-half, Lewis Minikin reduced the arrears from the tee but Rossiter’s second extended Rams’ lead.
Moses Liwaliwa grabbed another score for the I’s, but tries from Tom Vooght and Kieran Leicester sealed the victory for the away side.
Plymouth Albion 41-22 Rosslyn Park
Promotion challengers Rosslyn Park suffered a setback in Round 20 as they fell to a defeat against an in-form Plymouth Albion.
Kieran Power’s men began the day just three points behind Richmond but they are now seven points off the top following successive away losses.
Albion made it FOUR WINS IN A ROW with the victory over @rosslynpark Club on Saturday! ??— Plymouth Albion (@AlbionRFC) January 27, 2020
Beating then second in the league by 19 points! ??
Our next match is a 2pm KO away to @SaleFC Rugby.
Photo credit: https://t.co/Cbl3a7LRFx#AlbionAsOne #Nat1 pic.twitter.com/7ajI6zDd18
Winger Alex Ducker scored twice for Albion and fly-half Connor Eastgate kicked 16 points to help the hosts to their fourth straight win.
Captain George Mills opened the scoring for Plymouth, whilst Lewis Pearson and Shea Cornish also crossed.
Craig Holland, Harry Leonard and Benji Marfo all went over for Park, but they were unable to claim any points from their trip to Devon.
Chinnor 28-27 Cinderford
Laurence May kicked a late conversion as Chinnor beat Cinderford in a dramatic contest at Kingsey Road.
The hosts trailed with 10 minutes to go, but capitalised on Cinderford’s ill discipline in the closing stages.
George Evans, who had crossed to make it 27-21 for Cinderford, was sin-binned shortly after and the home side took full advantage.
Will Harries dived over in the corner to cut the deficit to just one point and May then held his nerve to claim the victory.
Nick Selway (2) and Josh Pieterse also went over for Chinnor in an entertaining encounter in Oxfordshire, whilst Harry Hone and Jack Hayes (2) dotted down for the away side, who had led 19-14 at half-time.
Blackheath 48-29 Sale FC
Blackheath scored four tries in the final 20 minutes to secure a battling bonus-point win over Sale FC at Well Hall.
Two scores from Jake Lloyd, plus a penalty try, helped ‘Club’ enter half-time on level terms with Sale FC after Chris Johnson had kicked 14 points for the visitors, which included converting Jonty Rawcliffe’s effort.
Jarard Williams added a further try for Sale after the break and another penalty from Johnson made it 29-19 to the away side.
However, Blackheath launched a comeback which began with a Mark Cooke penalty before Freddie Owen, Henry Staff and Tom Burns all crossed to clinch the win for the hosts.
Darlington Mowden Park 41-27 Rotherham Titans
Rotherham Titans were unable to build on their recent victory against Birmingham Moseley as the Yorkshire side lost to Darlington Mowden Park in Round 20.
It had been a closely fought contest in the North-East, but DMP were able to pull away from their visitors in the final 20 minutes to secure the win.
The hosts had opened up a 24-10 lead at half-time with Ollie Hodgson (2) and Callum Mackenzie going over, whilst Zak Poole grabbed a brace for the Titans.
The impressive Warren Seals landed his second penalty of the afternoon to add to DMP’s lead, but Ben Robbins’ effort brought Rotherham right back into this encounter.
However, quick-fire scores from Tom Marshall and Connor Cade were enough to take the game away from Rotherham, but the hosts did fightback to earn a potentially crucial try bonus-point as both Kieran Frost and Robbins dotted down in the final four minutes.
Cambridge 29-28 Canterbury
Matt Hema scored a dramatic late try as Cambridge denied Canterbury only their second victory of the campaign.
Andy Henderson opened the scoring for the Blood and Sand before Hema crossed the whitewash to give the home side the perfect start at Volac Park.
Alex Meads responded for the visitors to make it 14-7 at the break, before both sides exchanged scores shortly after half-time with Henderson and Canterbury’s Ricky Mackintosh going over.
However, the game really sparked into life when Cambridge’s Joe Tarrant was sin-binned and the City Men took full advantage of his absence as Sean Stapleton and Tristan King both scored.
Canterbury’s only victory this term came against Rotherham Titans just before Christmas and it looked as though they were about to double their tally, but Hema’s late try snatched a sixth win in a row for Cambridge.
Birmingham Moseley 22-23 Old Elthamians
Birmingham Moseley missed two late penalties as they fell to a narrow defeat against Old Elthamians at Billesley Common.
Tries by Ollie Claxon (2) and Louis Brown, plus eight points from the boots of Hilton Gibbons and Brown, saw OEs battle into a 23-22 lead.
Zac Xiorroupoa (2) and Matt Dight had gone over for Moseley, who were impressive, but in the end, they had to settle for a losing bonus-point as two penalties in the final 10 minutes failed to hit the target.