Tring High Swing Low

It has been a season of ups and downs, highs and lows for a number of clubs in N3L&SE and the final league Saturday repeated the dose.

TJs travelled to Tring knowing that 8th place was secured but needing a performance to end on the up with the Kent Cup Final against OEs still to be played. Tring though had league survival to play for and the final 13-9 scoreline gave them hope if Westcliff lost to title chasing Barnes. Sadly for Trng that did not happen as Westcliff edged Barnes 8-7 to ensure their own survival and despite the loss the losing bonus point kept Barnes in second and a play off berth.

Bury St Edmunds, as expected, eventually cruised to the title with a 61-10 mauling of Gravesend in front of a massive home crowd put at 1500+ by many observers. IN the end BSE won the division by 7 points from Barnes with LIWG 1 point further back in third. Amazingly BSE lost 6 games on the way to the title a number unheard of in previous seasons but a reflection of how this division has played out all season.

CS Rugby had already been relegated the previous Saturday and their disappointing season was capped off by East Grinstead in a 19-50 home defeat. Amersham & Chiltern beat Hertford 30-19 but still went down as results went against them elsewhere. LIWG beat Chichester 28-19 whilst Guernsey ended the season with another win this time beating Combe 42-28. THe final results and league table can be viewed here

So Bury St Edmunds are promoted to N2S whilst Barnes face Exmouth from N3SW in the pllay off. CS Rugby 1863, Amersham & Chiltern and Tring are relegated.

The N3SW Champions were our old friends Redingensians. In N3M South Leicester romped to the title by 24 points over Hinckley and in N3N Sale edged out Sandal by 3 points.

In National 1 Ealigh had already secured the title but second placed Rosslyn Park took some of the gloss off with a 15-19 victory. Coventry finished third after beating Blackheath 49-20 who dropped to fifth after a long run in fourth. At the other end of the table Macclesfield and Tynedale are both down but the last spot remains undecided between Cinderford and Old Albanians. Cinderford face Esher at home whilst OAs take on Tynedale on the last Saturday of the season next weekend.

In National 2(S) champions Henley also slipped up with a 22-28 defeat at home to Worthing. Bishops' Stortford remain in the playoff spot although they very nearly made a mess of things in a 26-27 win at league strugglers Southend. That means both Taunton and Dorking remain in the hunt for second spot after 19-30 and 62-19 victories over Launceston and Dings respectively. BS have a 2 point cushion in second and play Launceston at home in their final game. Dorking have Henley whilst Taunton play Cambridge - it's BS's to lose then really. At the bottom Shelford lost 33-8 to Chinnor to go down along with Dings. The third relegation spot goes to the final Saturday now after Lydney beat Redruth 29-17 and it's between Lydney and Southend now. Canterbury are safe but still lost to Cambridge 56-49 in an amazing game whilst OEs and Clifton drew 17 all.

Shelford accompany Dings for the drop after they lost out 33-8 at Chinnor, whilst the battle for the last of the relegation places will go to the last weekend and is between Southend and Lydney, who won 29-17 at Redruth.  Canterbury’s safety is confirmed despite defeat at Cambridge in a high scoring 56-49 encounter.  In the last of the fixtures Clifton and Elthamians played out a 17-17 draw.

In National 2(N) Ampthill have not given up on the title just yet as they are 3 points behind Hull Ionians going into next Saturday. Ampthill take on bottom and relegated Stockport whilst HI travel to sixth placed Caldy.

Wimbledon secured the London 1(S) title with an emphatic 65-7 defeat of fourth placed Sidcup whilst Chobham reached the play offs with a 31-10 defeat of Havant. Sutton & Epsom missed out despite a 19-29 win over Guildford. At the bottom Basingstoke and Hove had already dropped but the third spot was between Twickenham, Cobham, Dover and Gosport & Fareham. As it was Twickenham's 10-20 win at Cobham took them out of the drop zone and sent their hosts down instead. Dover routed Basingstoke 90-7 and Gosport & F beat Hove 39-7.  

So Wimbledon come up as Champions whilst Chobham face London 1N bridesmaids, Eton Manor after Colchester secured the title.

Maidstone had already won London 2 (SE) and have an Internediate Cup Final at Twickers to look forward to as well. Their 28-45 win at Colfes meant they ended the league campaign unbeaten to consolidate their on field efforts in some style.

The leagues ended for others last weekend so Maidstone take the L2SE title whilst Medway were runners up. Medway now face London Cornish, runners up in L2SW where Tottonians took the title. Aylesford Bulls were relegated from L2SE some weeks ago.

In L3SE Horsham were crowned Champions whilst Dartfordians ended as runners up. Both come up to L2SE next season whilst at the other end Hastings & Bexhill, Lewes and Park House go in the other direction

In Kent 1 Cranbrook were also already up as Champions but Sheppey and Beccs were fighting it out for the play off spot. Sheppey in the end came through in a 82-24 defeat of Beccs. Bexley and Sittingbourne were relegated. In Kent 2 New Ash Green and Brockleians come up in that order.


Guernsey Too Hot for TJs

In a season of highs and lows it was perhaps no surprise that the visiting Islanders took all the plaudits in a game they needed to win to put their relegation fears to bed for the season. TJs in 8th for many months started well but finished badly, which is largely at odds with previous performances.

Early scores for TJs saw them take a 19-7 lead into the stiff wind on a dry day with a hard pitch suited to their freestyle rugby. Gs though pegged them back with some simple attacks and levelled it at the break.

TJs normally come out firing in the third quarter but the G's defence stood firm and when the ball was turned over they worked it up field to add to their points tally to some effect. So effective in fact that it was not until they had reached 40 points that TJs worried the scoreboard. Gs had the last word though and ran out deserved winners 26-45.

Elsewhere the tussle for the top between Barnes and BSE saw Barnes close the gap to just 3 points as they beat the leaders 28-27. BSE should still make the title theirs though as they have Gravesend at home next Saturday whilst Barnes travel to A&C.

LIWG still have hopes of a play off spot if Barnes slip up after they beat East Grinstead 29-34. EG should finish 4th as they face relegated CS Rugby in their last game and CS fell to a heavy 60-5 losst at Combe who climbed to 5th as a result.

At the bottom its down to the wire after Tring beat Hertford 30-24, A&C beat Gravesend 19-25 and Westcliff won 17-34 at Chichester.  All still to play for then with Westcliff and Tring on 44 points and A&C just 2 behind.

In National 1 Ealing are just one win now from the title after they beat Blackheath 12-45.  In National 2(S) Henley wrapped up the title with a 22-38 win at already relegated Dings whilst second placed Bishops' Stortford beat Lydney 38-7 to stay just ahead of Dorking who returned to form with a 33-64 victory over Shelford, a result which confirms Shelford's relegation. Canterbury are now safe despite losing 18-20 to Launceston, whilst Old Elthamians warmed up for their Kent Cup Final with TJs on 26th April at 3.30pm with a 27-26 victory over Cambridge.

Wimbledon had a home walk over against bottom and relegated Basingstoke so remain on course for the title in London 1 (S) although their last game could be a potential banana skin if Sidcup are up for it. Chobham beat and relegated Hove by 38-50 and remain in the hunt for the title if they beat Havant on the last Saturday and Wimbledon slip up. Sutton & Epsom have faint hopes of the play off spot though after they beat Dover 47-12 and Dover remain in the relegation mire still.

Maidstone secured the London 2 (SE) title with an emphatic 50-17 win at home against Crowborough. Medway were already assured of at least a play off spot before their 48-10 thumoing of T Wells who seem to be in some disarray. That victory gives Medway a home play off game against London Cornish. Sevenoaks beat Beckenham 47-31 and look to be ending their season in good form whilst relegated Aylesford lost 39-3 at Thanet and they will want to forget this season in a hurry as they are the only club in the region to have failed to secure a single point all season.

Horsham celebrated winning London 3 (SE) with a 92-3 victory over relegated Hastings & Bexhill. Lewes are also relegated despite beating Uckfield 18-14 and Park HOuse join them after losing 7-15 to Pulborough.  Cranbrook had already secured the Kent 1 title and a 5-59 victory at Old Gravesendians confirmed their success. Sheppey should secure the play off spot next Saturday but Beccehamians have not yet lost hope although they have no games left. New Ash Green secured the Kent 2 title with a 7-59 win over Shotterhillians whilst Brockleians snatched second with a 15-26 win over Whitstable whilst Foots Cray slipped up in a 22-18 loss to Askeans.


Relegation Batlle Means More

CS Rugby were bottom of N3L&SE before their home game with TJs and they are still bottom despite a bonus point win by 37-30. It can be a cruel game at times and with Tring snatching a late winner at Guernsey and Westcliff ambushing East Grinstead there are now just 4 points covering the bottom four places and still all to play for.

For TJs the up or down aspect of the season was over long ago as far as promotion/relegation was concerned at least. The up and down performance part remains a bit of a mystery although the fightbacks and playing to the final whistle have carried us through quite a few games. This though was not one of those games despite recovering from 20-6 down to take the lead at 30-25 at one stage. However CS had the final say and a goal and a try secured the win which gives them a small window of opportunity of surviving in the league.

Westcliff edged out EG 23-21 whilst Tring beat Guernsey 27-28. Bury St Edmunds routed Chi 72 nil and are now really just one win away from the title with Barnes away next and then a home celebration against Gravesend most likely. Barnes remain in the mix after a 9-17 win at Amersham & Chiltern and London Irish WG can still aim for 2nd after a 16-10 defeat of Combe. Gravesend beat Hertford 15-18 in the remaining fixture.

So it is a very small window of opportunity for CS now and they must hope that Combe and East Grinstead, two clubs with no up nor down thoughts either, don't slam it shut. Tring are in a similar boat with Hertford to come and then a final encounter against TJs at their place on 18th April two home games to end on could be their life line. Westcliff go to Chichester and then entertain Barnes on the last day whilst Guernsey are TJ's visitors on the 11th April (KO 2.30pm) before ending it all against Combe. Amersham & Chiltern are the fifth team in the relegation mix and they travel to Gravesend next and have Hertford at home last.

As things stand the betting man would have BSE promoted as Champions and Barnes in the runners up and play off spot. At the bottom CS look the most likely to go first but you simply cannot tell as predictions in this league have been the hardest of all - after all BSE have managed to lose 5 times and still be top when 3 or less has been the previous norm. Still all to play for and yes, it does matter.


7TJs Go Oh So Close

You can't really give anyone a 19 point lead and expect to win but TJs very nearly did it after a bruising encounter with LIWG on Saturday.

Playing into a strong corner to corner NE wind in the first half TJs probably did well to only be 19 nil down at HT against a big and well organised LIWG outfit. Some of the hits were enormous and players from both sides knew that they were in a game. TJs though looked like they were out of it and had just pride to play for after the break.

LIWG though gifted TJs an interception try early in the second half and JJ Murray scampered in to dot down under the posts and then convert. This seemed to light the TJ touch paper and they upped the pace against the bigger LIWG pack. Penalties ensued and TJs began to kick their way to within reach at 13-19 with 20 minutes to go.

As the crowd shivered in the cold Finn Lewthwaite entered the fray on the left wing and things suddenyl got a lot hotter. Lee Campion rolled back the years on the right to go finger tip close to one of his 'specials' with a chip, gather and stumble before the ball went left and Finn had his chance.

Skinning his opposite number on the outside he then stood the much larger LI full back up and danced round him as well to go in under the posts for one of the tries of the season. The conversion put TJs in front at 20-19 and the impossible now seemed probable.

London Irish had managed to secure little territory into the wind but a couple of penalties and drives earned them a further penalty within range and they slotted the 3 points well into the stiff breeze. With both sides starting to suffer a little with the full on pace and power of the game it was perhaps no surprise that the last few minutes were played out with neither side rally getting sufficient territory to score again. Great game but ultimately a disappointing result for TJs.

Elsewhere in N3L&SE Bury St Edmunds are closing in on the title after a 7-17 victory over East Grinstead. The win leaves them 5 points clear of Barnes who beat Hertford 43-14. Although BSE still have to travel to Barnes in 2 weeks time they have a much superior points difference and face Chichester and Gravesend at home in their other two games.

Chi dropped down to 7th after losing 22-25 to Amersham & Chiltern a victory which might just be enough for A&C to escape relegation. Guernsey look to have eased their own relegation worries with a 61-6 victory over CS Rugby who TJs travel to play next Saturday. Tring lost 22-33 to Gravesend whilst Westcliff lost 32-8 at Westcombe Park.

National 1 saw Blackheath continue their excellent season with a 29-27 win over Darlington MP to keep them fourth. Still 4 games left though and it is tight between them and Fylde for that 4th spot and they have to play each other still. At the top Ealing Trailfinders are probably just one win away from the title as they are 9 points clear of Rosslyn Park and 19 points clear of Coventry in third. Ealing though have still to play 2nd, 4rd and 4th but they should have more than enough in the bank to be champions.

N2S had a Saturday off and Henley should wrap up the title next Saturday as they take on Shelford with 4 games left to play. Bishops' Stortford remain favourites for the runners up spot although Taunton are just 2 points behind. Just one game in N2N on Saturday but the top two, Hull Ionians and Ampthill rested before the run in which looks like it will go down to the wire.

London 1 S leaders Wimbledon slipped up against Sutton & Epsom and lost 12-13 whilst Chobham closed to within 2 points as they beat fourth placed Sidcup 12-14. Wimbledon are now just 2 points clear of Chobham and 5 clear of Sutton & Epsom with just 3 games left so still all to play for and this one could go down to the wire when Wimbledon play Sidcup at home on 18th April.

Maidstone remain 4 points clear of Medway in L2SE after a 106-3 drubbing of struggling Aylesford Bulls. Stones have a game on hand over Medway but are taking nothing for granted after Medway beat Colfeians 41-5. Sevenoaks racked up the points as well with a 75-5 defeat of Ashford whilst Crowborough beat Deal & B 17-14. Maidstone have Deal & B, Crowborough and Colfeians still to play and you would probably not expect any of them to pose too much of a problem this late in the season.

Horsham are just one point from securing the title as they lead Dartfordians by 9 points in L3SE. A 49-12 win over Old Dunstonians whilst Dartfordians despatched Bromley 7-31 means with 2 games left it is all but over as Horsham face Uckfield and Hastings & Bexhill in their last 2 games.

NOTE -news has filtered through that Maidstone have had to forfeit their Kent Cup Semi Final with Old Elthamians as they simply cannot find a spare date on which to play the fixture. Stones have been fighting on multiple fronts inc the Cup, the Intermediate Cup and the League. So TJs will line up against OEs on Sunday 26th April at Cranbrook RFC



With cup rugby top of many agendas the league action was largely left to those as National 2 and above this weekend.

In National 1 Blackheath consolidated their 4th spot with a 29-27 win over Darlington MP whilst Ealing closed in on promotion with a 14-39 win at Fylde. Canterbury continue to fight for survival in N2S as they beat fellow strugglers Lydney 22-9 to stay clear of the visitors, Shelford and Dings. With 3 of their last 4 games against the 3 sides just above them you sense another victory should be enough as Lydney face a tougher run in althoigh they face Shelford so will be targetting that result no doubt. Dorking have started to lose form and as a result have slipped to 4th behind Bishops' Stortford who beat them 32-8 whilst OEs remain in mid table after a 51-28 win over Southend. Henley are very nearly promoted after they beat Redruth 13-28.

Medway continue to press for 2nd in L2SE after a resounding 15-52 win at Crowborough to close to within 4 points on Maidstone who were in Intermediate Cup action and who still have a game in hand. IN the only other game T Wells lost out by a point to Beckenham 21-22 . Cranbrook look as if they are just one victory from promotion now after they beat Kings College 5-20 in the only game in Kent 1.

Maidstone are facing something of a fixture rush now as they fight on two cup fronts plus league action. On Saturday they beat Chiswick 29-12 to secure the L&SE Intermediate Cup title and now face Coney Hill in the National Semi Final on 4th April. They face OEs at some stage of course in the Kent Cup semi final hoping to meet TJs who saw off Blackheathance 37-25 on Saturday in the other semi. Kent Cup final is Sunday 26th April at Cranbrook RFC.

In the Senior Vase regional final Bronley beat Fullerians 24-25  and in the Junior Vase Battersea Ironsides retained the title they won last year with a 20-14 win against Camberley.



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