Sale FC crowned champions, Blaydon suffer back to back relegations

Sale FC clinched an historic promotion to National One
©Steve Murphy

Sale FC secured the National Two North title with a battling victory over Leicester Lions in the Midlands.

Sale knew a win against the Lions would clinch automatic promotion to National One and Jonathan Keep's side delivered by sealing their 22nd successive victory.

With Sale's win, it means Sedgley Park will take on Chinnor in the National Two play-off and Matt Bebbington's men ended the domestic campaign in style with a stunning win over Sheffield Tigers.

Meanwhile, down at the bottom of this division, it was disappointment for Blaydon. The north-east side have now been relegated for the second year in a row after their narrow defeat against Hinckley.

Rivals Wharfedale are on the cusp of safety after a crucial win over Macclesfield, but their place in this division is still not confirmed as Luctonians thrashed Sheffield to keep their survival hopes alight.

The Lucs have to pick up two bonus-point wins from their games in hand against Leicester Lions and Sale FC at the start of May to avoid the drop.

Elsewhere in National Two North, Chester edged past Tynedale, Stourbridge beat Otley and Huddersfield secured sixth spot with a win over South Leicester.

Leicester Lions 5-37 Sale FC

Sale FC clinched the National Two North title and promotion to National One after a hard-fought bonus-point win over Leicester Lions.

Scrum-half Tom Aviss put Leicester Lions in front, but tries from Andy Hughes and Tom Ailes, plus a drop goal and penalty from Chris Johnson gave Sale an 18-5 half time lead.

But the Lions could not add to their first-half try, even when Sale were reduced to 13 men.

Instead, the champions showed their resolve and were rewarded as Simon Griffiths, Chris Taylor and Mark Lawrence all touched down to seal an historic title for Sale FC and a place in the third tier.

Sedgley Park 80-19 Sheffield Tigers

Sedgley Park maintained their superb recent form heading into the National Two play-off as they thumped Sheffield Tigers at Park Lane.

Matt Bebbington's men ran in 12 tries, scored by seven different players, with Steve Collins and Jamie Harrison bagging hat-tricks.

Will Lees scored a brace while Nathan Rushton, Matt Riley, Callum McShane and Andy Riley also touched down in another scintillating display from Sedge.

Collins also kicked 20 points to add to his trio of tries while Sheffield Tigers' scores came via Tom Coates, Greg Mellor and Tom Hart.

Sedge will now face Chinnor away from home in the National Two play-off on Saturday May 5th.

Chester 34-33 Tynedale

Tynedale secured third place in National Two North despite narrowly losing to Chester in an enthralling battle at Hare Lane.

The Cheshire side led 10-7 at half-time via tries from Matt van Sertima and Alick Croft.

Ben Bell had crossed for Tyne in the first period, but his side found themselves further behind shortly after half-time as Craig Ross dotted down.

Both sides then exchanged scores as James Clark's try for the visitors was wiped out by an Andrew Oakden score before Chester took control of this encounter as Tom Holloway crossed.

But back came Tynedale as scores from Nicholas Cairnes, Clark and Oli Walker made it a one point game on 79 minutes, but Chester held on for their 12th and final home triumph of the term.

Stourbridge 31-5 Otley

Stourbridge finished the National Two North campaign in fourth place following a convincing home victory against Otley.

It was also an emotional afternoon at Stourton Park as the club paid tribute to Under 14's player Tom Mole who sadly died on Thursday following a short illness.

Jack Lea powered over for the hosts' first try in a match that saw Stour cross on five occassions.

Chad Throne went over shortly after as the Midlands club had a comfortable cushion at the break.

It was first blood to Otley after half-time as Ben Steele barged over for a close range score, but tries from Phil Boden, Rob Connolly and Sam Montieri sealed the win.

Blaydon 36-40 Hinckley

Blaydon have been relegated from National Two North despite mounting an excellent fightback against Hinckley at Kingston Park.

Josh Smith, Conor Bullivant, Alex Salt and Mitch Lamb went over in a flying first-half for Hinckley which saw them lead 33-5 at the break.

Blaydon chipped away after the restart thanks to a Jack Appleton score and a penalty try before they scored a third unanswered try to move ahead in the contest.

However, Hinckley ended all of Blaydon's survival hopes as they crossed for their fifth try to snatch the victory.

Huddersfield 41-33 South Leicester

Huddersfield have ended their first campaign back in National Two North in sixth place following a battling victory over South Leicester.

Gareth Lewis' side ran in six tries and also defused a comeback from South Leicester, who scored five tries on their visit to Lockwood Park.

Field won exactly half of their fixtures to round off a brilliant term for the Yorkshire side while South Leicester missed out on a top half finish.

Wharfedale 30-21 Macclesfield

Wharfedale took a huge step towards saftey as they clinched a vital win over Macclesfield at the Avenue.

Dale knew they had to match or better the result of Blaydon to avoid relegation in Round 30 and while they secured the victory, they failed to pick up the bonus-point.

This means they now have wait to see how rivals Luctonians get on in their two games in hand against Leicester Lions and Sale FC and two bonus-point wins would see them overtake Wharfedale.

In this contest, Wharfedale went into a 10-0 lead thanks to Tom Barrett and the hosts led 23-14 at the break after a further try from Toms Asejevs and two penalties from the aforementioned Barrett.

Sam Broster and Sam Moss dotted down for Macc in the first period, but Dale went further ahead on 68 minutes when Robbie Davidson crossed.

Lewis Barker then set-up a nervy ending for Dale as he scored Macclesfield's thrid try, but the Yorkshire club held on for the win and now their fate is out of their hands.

Luctionians 76-12 Sheffield

Luctonians are still alive in their fight for survival following a stunning victory over Sheffield at Mortimer Park.

Ryan Watkins' side need to pick up two bonus-point wins from their games in hand against Leicester Lions and Sale FC to avoid relegation to the fifth tier.

The Lucs dominated the first half in Herefordshire, running in four scores through Jordan Page (2), Rob Crowley and a penalty try to lead 28-7 at half-time

But, Josh Watkins and Tom Jones both scored braces while Sam Jones, Piers Morell, Joe White and Frank Kelly also touched down to give Luctonians hope that they can beat the drop.

Lewis Bowman and Andrew Hodgson both scored for Sheffield who also had Dom Parsons dismissed for foul play in the first period.

National League Rugby