A landmark appearance for London Irish hooker David Paice, another win for Ealing Trailfinders and Yorkshire Carnegie continue their unbeaten start to the Greene King IPA Championship season – here are five stories from another superb weekend in the second tier of English rugby.
250 up for David Paice as London Irish roll on
David Paice scored a try and was named man of the match on his 250th London Irish appearance as his side triumphed 35-12 against London Welsh in The Exiles derby.
Fergus Mulchrone, Sebastian De Chaves and Brendan McKibbin all crossed for Irish as they dominated Welsh before a quickfire consolation double from Kristian Phillips and Rob Lewis.
Paice joins Declan Danaher and Topsy Ojo as members of London Irish’s 250 Club, but at just 32 and arguably playing some of the best rugby of his career, he could well go on to win many more.
Irish director of rugby Nick Kennedy recalled fondly how Paice was picked up by Toby Booth – then of Irish – from The Orange Tree pub in Richmond before playing his entire senior career for the club.
"Toby stopped him pulling pints and brought him down to training and stuck him in the academy," Kennedy told the BBC. "He then went on to win the Under-19s Premiership and hasn't looked back since.
"I've played with Paicey at all levels and he's the kind of guy you want by your side.
"He's tough, passionate about Irish and an excellent player. The durability to play 250 games from hooker is really impressive.
"The way he's been playing so far this season indicates he's got many years to come."
Bonus point up for Ealing Trailfinders
Ben Ward’s Ealing Trailfinders side continued their strong start to the Greene King IPA Championship season with a bonus-point win at home to Richmond to take them up to sixth in the league.
Aled Jenkins, James Cordy-Redden and Joe Munro all crossed in a superb first-half showing before they wrapped up the bonus-point after the break through Alex Walker, Will Harries and Luke Carter.
It had been a bright start for Richmond, defending resolutely against the Trailfinders’ persistent attacks and No.10 Aaron Penberthy missing a penalty attempt.
Henry Cheeseman went close for Richmond before eventually crossing thanks to sharp handling from Ronnie McLean and Jason Phipps
Cordy-Redden ensured the lead was short-lived when he collected the kick-off superbly, off-loading to Jenkins to cross.
Wingers Cordy-Redden and former Rotherham Titan Curtis Wilson were a menace all afternoon, the former grabbing a try as the hosts pulled clear for a win that sets them up nicely for a clash with unbeaten Yorkshire Carnegie in the British & Irish Cup next weekend.
Former London Scottish No.8 Mark Bright was exceptional throughout and was his usual powerful self with ball in hand.
Bedford dig-in to down Rotherham
Bedford Blues forwards coach Martin Hynes believes his side can still make the Championship play-offs after sealing a second-consecutive win against Rotherham at Goldington Road on Friday.
Blues could not buy a win for the first four weeks, but turned things round against Richmond last time out and backed it up against the South Yorkshire side in tough conditions.
Dean Adamson and hooker Jacob Fields pitched in with tries, while Jack Hayes crossed for Rotherham.
And Hynes feels the win is building nicely towards another Championship play-off run.
"We're not firing on all cylinders, but we want to be there or thereabouts at the turn of Christmas, so there's lots to work on and then the lads will start fizzing around Christmas time. Then it's downhill towards the back end [of the season] and the play-offs,” Hynes explained.
"We can put a little full stop on that now for a couple of weeks because we're into the B&I Cup and some lads are desperate to show us how good they can do.”
London Scottish extend Jersey run
Jersey lost their fourth consecutive match as first-half tries from Dan Koroi, Danny Kenny and Patrick Kelly fired London Scottish to a 36-10 win at St Peter.
The Reds won their opening two Championship fixtures, but it has been tough going since then and it only got harder as Jason Harries powered over for the bonus-point try just after the break and David Cherry grabbed a fifth.
Though Rich Lane grabbed a consolation for Jersey, their fourth loss in as many games equals their worst run of form since 2014, while Scottish moved sixth with a third win of the season.
Doncaster keep pace
Last season’s Greene King IPA Championship finalists Doncaster Knights moved third in the table after a brilliant comeback 26-21 win against Nottingham at Castle Park.
Murray McConnell and Callum Hall crossed early for Nottingham, taking them into a 12-0 lead, but Tyson Lewis crossed before half time, and Latu Makaafi after the break, as Clive Griffiths’ men fought back.
Declan Cusack had been on form with the boot all afternoon and he put Doncaster ahead for the first time on 56 minutes before Will Griff John crossed to seal victory.