1st XV

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.

 

 

 

The 1st XV travelled north to take on a Westcliff squad looking to drag themselves clear of the relegation zone and they very nearly did as TJs sneaked it in a 31-32 result. No change for TJs then as they remain 8th in N3L&SE whilst Westcliff remain in the bottom five.

At the top Bury St Edmunds saw off Combe 27-14 to edge closer to promotion whils Barnes made second spot their own as they routed Gravesend 13-54 and London Irish WG, TJ's next league opponents, slumped to a 25-36 defeat at home to Guernsey.

CS Rugby slipped to the bottom as they lost 18-25 to fellow strugglers Tring and Amersham & Chiltern remain in the relegation mix after a 14-36 loss to East Grinstead. Hertford beat Chichester 30-24.

Invicta 1 title chasing TJ's 2s had a bit of a scare on the road t Sidcup and for long periods they were very much seond best before finally securing a 33-43 victory with a late penalty try. The 3s also won at home to Dover but the scoreline remains a mystery

Elsewhere in the leagues Wimbledon continue to home in on the L1S title after a 13-20 victory over Gosport & Fareham whilst Chobham hang on in there after beating Brighton 31-22. Sidcup beat Cobham 7-27 to keep their slim chances alive. In L2SE Maidstone march on unbeaten after beating T Wells 10-31 and Medway look to have seen off the Sevenoaks challenge for the runners up spot after they beat them 10-44 at The Paddock.

 

 

Leaders Pushed Close

Maybe a draw would have been a 'result' but languishing in mid-table knowing that a good lineout and a few phases could earn a win, why wouldn't you go for it. Fair play to TJs for giving is a blast as they spurned a tricky penalty to go for the victory at 17-20 on Saturday.

A first half spend mostly defending TJs will have been pleased to have gone in just 13 nil down. Second half tries from Sam Bailey and Lee Campion, both converted by Micky Z put them in front before a penalty took them 4 points clear. The tricky conditions made it difficult for both sides as fluid rugby was not an option for much of the game. However BSE maufactured a neat grubber, gather and pass down the right to secure the winning score and to stay clear at the top as TJs remain 8th.

The other results went largely to form although things are hotting up at the bottom. BSE have lost 5 times this season, which is largely unheard of for a title chasing side. Three losses tops normally. With 5 games left though they look firm favourites now as they lead London Irish WG and Barnes by 6 points with a 100+ better points difference.

London Irish WG beat CS Rugby 20-30 and Barnes edged out Tring 23-26 with both losers fighting it out at the bottom for survival. East Grinstead's fluctuating form continued but this time in an upward direction as they beat Hertford convincingly 29-3. At the bottom Guernsey took advantage of losses above them to climb a couple of places after they beat fellow strugglers Westcliff 33-22. Amersham & Chiltern are also in the relegation mix after they lost 29-17 at Combe whilst Gravesend spurned the chance to beat an ill-disciplined Chichester going down 14-8 at Chi.

Only two games in National 1 with the leaders Ealing beating bottom club Macclesfield 7-45 and Wharfedale were 8-6 winners over Esher. Henley seem to have made the N2S title their own now despite not playing as Dorking lost 19-25 to struggling Southend. Everything tightened up at the bottom again as a result whilst Bishops' Stortford beat Worthing 29-10 to close the gap at the top on Dorking.

Wimbledon remain top in L1S after they beat Twickenham 41-17 and other results also went with form. Chobham beat Gosport & Fareham 12-17 to stay second and Sidcup third after they saw off Guildford 31-7. truggling Twickenham side stuck in the relegation zone.  Hove convincingly beat bottom club Basingstoke 46-5 whilst Charlton Park beat Dover 30-25 to leave Dover in trouble at the bottom. 

Maidstone lead L2SE still after grounding out a 15-10 win over Beckenham. Medway beat Ashford 31-17 to consolidate second as Sevenoaks remained third following a 7-24 win on the road at Thanet. The local derby between Crowborough and T Wells ended in a 17 nil victory for the Sussex club in testing conditions whilst Aylesford are the first club to be relegated in the SE divisions as they lost 20-3 to Deal & Betteshanger.

Horsham remain top in L3SE after they beat Folkestone 10-0 but second placed Dartfordians tripped up against Heathfield & Waldron 15-3. Bromley seem to like low scorelines after a 3 nil last week as they notched a 5 nil against struggling Lewes enjoyed another tight battle, this time coming out on top of the 0-5 scoreline against bottom club Lewes.  In Kent 1 Cranbrook kept their title challenge alive with a 9-17 win over Old Williamsonians whilst Foots Cray seem to be taking a grip in Kent 2 after they beat fellow title chasers New Ash Green 14-10 t go 4 points clear

 
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