We've reached the end of the opening month in National League Rugby but who can sign off from September on a high?

Henley Hawks have won three of their first four games in National Two East
©Steve Karpa

And just like that, the first month of action is almost over but who will be able to step into October with something to build on?

National One

If you had asked followers of National One at the start of September what the league standings might have looked like heading into October, many may have said something similar. It probably isn't that much of a surprise to see last year's promotion challengers Rams RFC sitting pretty at the top, but what might have been a bold claim to make was to say newly-promoted Blackheath (2nd) would be tucked in behind them.

Granted, 'Club' only had one season away from the third tier but James Shanahan's troops will be very satisfied with the start they have made on their return. The fact their victories have come against Taunton Titans and Darlington Mowden Park - two sides who, at times, were fighting towards the wrong end of the division last year - as well as fellow newcomers Leicester Lions, it represents a solid opening and they will now be keen to cap off an encouraging month when they visit Sale FC.

Bringing it back to the narrative of early season predictions, based on the last two seasons, evidence would suggest observers of the third tier may have selected Sale FC to be towards the summit at this stage but Jonathan Keep's men are yet to begin firing. Four straight defeats leaves them bottom of the pile but perhaps last week's narrow loss to Cinderford has provided them with some plus points to take into this Saturday as Sale go in search of their first win.

Like Sale, Taunton are also still waiting for their first victory of the season but they face a tall order against table-toppers Rams in Round Five. Seb Reynolds' league leaders are yet to drop a point and already have a four-point gap between themselves and the chasing pack so can they make it a full house for September?

Plymouth Albion (3rd) are ticking along nicely, with Ryam Lamb's side targeting a fourth successive triumph when they take the 772-mile round trip to Darlington Mowden Park while Sedgley Park (4th) will be looking to conclude a very pleasing month when they travel to Rosslyn Park.

Also across National One, fifth-placed Cinderford take on old foes Chinnor at Kingsey Road, Richmond visit Leicester Lions for the first-ever time and Birmingham Moseley are at Bishop's Stortford.

National Two North

It hasn't been an all-singing, all-dancing start to the campaign by Rotherham Titans but what it has been is efficient. Following two top-four finishes in National Two North, perhaps their third consecutive year at this level will provide their strongest title challenge to date. The Yorkshire outfit have gone through the gears in the opening weeks and four excellent victories leaves them right on the shoulder of early leaders Leeds Tykes.

Martin Jenkinson's side end September with a trip to Tynedale, who are experiencing contrasting fortunes to those of their visitors. Ben Woods' men are the only side in the division without a win to their name. Defeats to both newly-promoted teams - as well as losses against Preston Grasshoppers and Wharfedale - have made it a difficult beginning to the term for Tyne, but maybe their 24-10 victory and excellent all-round performance when they last met Rotherham back in January can be a source of encouragement.

As mentioned, Leeds Tykes are the current table-toppers in this division and Pete Seabourne's charges will be aiming to make it a fantastic five when they go to Huddersfield while third-placed Fylde will be keen to return to winning ways when they face Lymm in their first-ever National League Rugby clash at Woodlands.

Both Wharfedale and Sheffield have made encouraging starts to 2023-24 and the two sides meet in Round Five at The Avenue, while Sheffield Tigers will also be out to complete a decent opening month when they travel to Hull.

Elsewhere, newcomers Billingham - who have won both of their home games thus far - will be looking to transfer those results onto the road when they take on Otley and Hull Ionians host Preston Grasshoppers at Brantingham Park.

National Two East

For those at Knole Paddock, it would have been a very proud moment to see Pat Pellegrini make his Rugby World Cup debut against Scotland last weekend.

The Tonga international was part of the set-up at Sevenoaks when the club were in the fifth tier and in a recent interview with The Telegraph's Dan Schofield, it revealed the fly-half had been back at his old stomping ground at the beginning of September to witness Adam Bowman's side begin the new season with a derby day triumph over Canterbury.

Four weeks on, Pellegrini could feature for the Pacific Islanders against world champions South Africa on Sunday - and perhaps there will also be a small part of him hoping for a second win of the term for his former side when they host Henley Hawks this weekend.

Sevenoaks have been unable to build on their opening day success  - suffering three consecutive losses - while the Hawks arrive in Kent with momentum and confidence building. Luke Allen's boys sit fourth in the standings and will now be targeting win number four of the campaign as they look to conclude a solid September.

Henley are still very much in touch with the early pacesetters in the division, with table-toppers Dorking just five points ahead of them as we enter Round Five. Last week, Armand Roux's league leaders recorded an impressive victory away at fellow possible promotion candidates Barnes as they continued their perfect start to the campaign and on Saturday, they will be aiming for a fifth successive bonus-point win when they host Westcombe Park.

Looking to bounce back will be the aforementioned Barnes who go to a winless North Walsham while third-placed Esher entertain Old Albanian, with a fourth victory in a row in their sights.

Meanwhile, Tonbridge Juddians and Bury St Edmunds meet at The Slade, Wimbledon will be targeting a trifecta of triumphs when they take on Guernsey Raiders and Canterbury make the trip to Sussex to face Worthing Raiders.

National Two West

Just like last season, Exeter University find themselves at the tip of the division following four wins from four. Gareth Elliott's side have scored an average of 51.5 points per game and their entertaining brand of rugby leaves them on top of National Two West.

However at this stage in 2022-23, the Green and Whites' perfect record came to an end away at Clifton which also coincided with the start of their BUCS Super Rugby commitments. Twelve months on, the university campaign kicked off again this week with Exeter - who are the current champions - beginning the defence of their title with a win against Hartpury.

So the question is; 'Will their blistering start in National League Rugby be affected by their Wednesday/Saturday schedule?'

Those at Topsham would like to think not, and Exeter can put that tentative question to bed when they face Old Redcliffians in Round Five. The hosts will be out to halt Exeter's scintillating start and the men from Scotland Lane will also enter this clash in good spirits after stitching together back-to-back wins against Bournville and Loughborough Students, respectively.

Exeter also failed to beat Old Reds in both games last term so will that run continue in Bristol?

As it stands, Exeter are sitting in first place but Luctonians are level on points with the table-toppers after also collecting four bonus point wins from four.

Ryan Watkins' side have lost just one of their last eight games - a run stretching back to March - and they will look to extend that record when they welcome Loughborough Students to Mortimer Park on Saturday.

Clifton (3rd) remain unbeaten in National Two West and their next assignment is a trip to the North-West to face Chester while Hinckley will be looking to press the pause button on successive defeats when they entertain Dings Crusaders.

Elsewhere, newcomers Camborne will be eager to conclude a pretty positive September when they visit Hornets while four of the bottom five face one another this weekend with Redruth hosting Bournville and Newport (Salop) going to Dudley Kingswinford.

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