Weather doesn't scupper National Two drama

Leicester Lions remain unbeaten at home and are now only four points off third place
©Robin Cave

As we approach the Christmas break, it is safe to say the winter weather conditions have already arrived and that was evident in Round 12 of National Two North.

The highest margin of victory was 14 points which highlights the lack of free-flowing rugby on display, but that didn’t mean it wasn't an entertaining weekend of rugby.

Macclesfield went 11 games unbeaten and remain top while Sedgley Park continue to hunt them down. Stourbridge are behind in thrid after a battling win away at Chester.

Otley, Caldy and Sandal all suffered defeats which allowed Harrogate and Leicester Lions to profit in the top of half of the table.

Elsewhere, Tynedale and Broadstreet secured vital wins along with the Luctonians as all three sides look to move away from the danger zone.

Huddersfield 24-38 Macclesfield

Macclesfield made it 11 wins from 11 in National Two North after coming from behind at half-time to win over Huddersfield on a foul afternoon at Lockwood Park.

Lewis Barker claimed a try and kicked two penalties in the second-half to ensure Macclesfield went seven points clear at the top of this division.

The Blues defied the weather to fight back as two tries from Elliot Hodgson helped Huddersfield into a 17-11 lead at the break.

Rhodri Mayor scored the only try of the first half for Macc, but they flew out of the blocks in the second period as Barker crashed over for his first try of the afternoon

Three minutes later, Charlie Venables dived on a loose ball to cross and despite Hodgson completing his hat-trick for Field to reduce Macclesfield’s lead to just a point,  Barker made sure of the win as he touched down in superb fashion on the hour mark before nudging over two penalties as the Cheshire side remain top.

Sedgley Park 17-13 Sale FC

Sedgley Park overcame a spirited first half performance from Sale FC to claim a hard earned win at Park Lane to stay 2nd in National Two North.

It was the visitors in this Manchester derby that led 7-10 at half-time as tries from Samuel Stelmaszek and Chris Mayor gave them the advantage.

A touch down from Daniel Waddy kept Sedge in touch with Sale, and a penalty after the restart from Stephen Collins and a second score from Waddy 10 minutes from time, sealed the win in atrocious conditions.

Liam McGovern’s late penalty set up a grandstand finish, but the away side had to settle for a bonus point from a positive display at Park Lane.

Chester 11-18 Stoubridge

Stourbridge battled to a hard-fought 11-18 victory over Chester in blustery and wet conditions at Hare Lane.

Ashley Elvers scored a late try in the first-half to level the scores at 8-8 despite Chester dominating proceedings in the first 40.

Chester's points had come via a try from a David Ford and a penalty from Rhys Hayes and it was the fly-half who nudged the hosts ahead with another penalty just after the restart.

But Stour, who were looking to extend their unbeaten run to three games, came out a different side in the second half as they ultimately sealed the win thanks to a Penalty Try and a second penalty from Chris Scott.

Chester pushed hard in the final moments of the game to try and snatch a draw, but the visitors defended valiantly and held firm to move up to third in the table.

Otley 12-13 Tynedale

Otley’s run of four straight wins came to an end as Tynedale hung on to secure their fourth win of the season in appalling weather at Cross Green.

Tyne’s Ashley Smith racked up all 13 of his side’s points, converting his own second-half try to add to his to his penalties either side of half-time.

Otley scored two tries through Adam Blades and Jack Scott-Paul, but could only convert one of them as Tynedale secured the victory.

Leicester Lions 15-14 Caldy

Leicester Lions maintained their unbeaten home record this season as they clinched their sixth victory at Westleigh Park thanks to a penalty try in the final minute of the game

Joseph Collingham’s try was matched by a score from Nicholas Royle as the game was level at 8-8 heading into the break with William Bishop and Gavin Roberts exchanging penalties in the first 40.

Roberts nudged over two more penalties after the interval, but the difference came in the final play of the game as the Lions were awarded a penalty try after sustained pressure.

They needed to convert the try to win the match and replacement Jonathan Williams kept his cool to seal the win and add to Caldy’s recent woes.

Harrogate 15-5 Preston Grasshoppers

Preston Grasshoppers failed to capitalise on a bright start as they slipped to defeat against Harrogate at Ruddling Lane.

The scores were level at half-time as Ally Murray and Tim Heaton both touched down from close range for their respective sides in difficult conditions in Yorkshire.

It was the home side who started the second half in a more offensive manner and were rewarded when Lewis Minkin edged them in front from the tee. They should have added to their three point advantage when Preston’s John Mackenzie was sin-binned but the Hoppers proved strong in defence.

Preston then started to edge themselves back into the contest but a mix up in their own 22 allowed Chris Wilson to pick up the pieces and secure the win for Harrogate.

Sandal 13-15 Broadstreet

Broadstreet picked up an outstanding result at Milnethorpe as they beat a Sandal side that have only lost four of their last 45 matches at home.

A try from Nigel Barker and a penalty from Lee Chapman gave the side bottom of National Two North a 5-10 half-time advantage with Sam Whittingham dotting down for Sandal.

Fly-half Greg Wood reduced the gap to two points with a penalty just after the break and flanker James Briscoe gave the hosts lead as he dived over on 51 minutes.

The key moment in the match came on 71 minutes as Sandal’s Luke Norbury was sin-binned and ‘Street didn’t pass up the chance to capitalise on the extra man as replacement Nicholas Thatcher scored the crucial try as Broadstreet celebrated their third win of the season.

Luctonians 13-5 South Leicester

The Luctonians made it back to back wins as they saw off South Leicester at Mortimer Park.

South’s only points came via  a try from Chris Gibbs while the Lucts had the boot of Louis Silver to thank as well as Jordan Street who scored their only try of the afternoon 15 minutes into the first half.

The home side are now five points from safety while South have lost their last three matches.

National League Rugby