From a derby victory to late glory, round seven of the Greene King IPA Championship was full of thrills and spills. Here are five stories from the weekend’s action.
London Irish flex muscles to beat local rivals
London Irish were at their clinical best as they beat rivals London Scottish 62-12 to make it seven wins from as many Greene King IPA Championship games this season.
Visitors Irish were on the front foot right from the word go and led 7-0 after three minutes as David Paice scored from a maul, with Tommy Bell adding the extras.
And by half-time they had secured the try bonus point with Brendan McKibbin, Joe Cokanasiga – who ran half the length of the pitch – and Bell all going over.
London Scottish only had a Peter Lydon score to celebrate in the first half, and they fell further behind on the hour mark as Aseli Tikoirotuma got in on the act.
Scott Steele and Blair Cowan were next to dot down before Bell ran 50 metres to score. Scottish had the final say though with a Michael Van Vuuren try at the death, with London Irish gearing up for next week’s top-of-the-table clash with Yorkshire Carnegie in style.
Rotherham’s Robinson stays cool to sink Pirates
Rotherham fly-half Will Robinson nailed a superb last-gasp conversion to lead the Titans to a 26-24 victory over Cornish Pirates.
With the clock ticking down visitors Cornish Pirates led Rotherham 24-19 thanks to tries from Sam Simmonds, Alex Day and Jack Innard – with fly-half Laurence May converting all three and adding a penalty.
But with the Titans pack threatening, the Pirates incurred the wrath of the referee and saw three players sin-binned in four minutes.
The first to be shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock on was Matt Evans, with Tom Channon joining him in the bin moments later for bringing down a maul.
Brett Beukeboom was next to be given his marching orders as Pirates found themselves defending for their lives with 12 men.
They were unable to do so and after Jake Henry touched down in the corner to level the scores at 24-24, Robinson converted from the touchline for the dramatic win.
Moment of brilliance from Phillips downs Doncaster
A Kristian Phillips first-half try proved enough for London Welsh to get the better of Doncaster Knights 14-10 at Old Deer Park.
The home side struck first through a Joe Carlisle penalty before winger Phillips gathered his own chip to touch down the game’s first try.
Carlisle slotted his second penalty for a 11-0 half-time lead, only for Doncaster hooker Harry Allen to grab his side’s first score.
However, Carlisle added a third penalty and London Welsh defended for their lives after Lloyd Hayes had crossed for a second Doncaster score with 10 minutes remaining.
Ealing up to third after beating Bedford
Ealing Trailfinders climbed up to third in the Greene King IPA Championship table thanks to a narrow 24-23 victory over Bedford Blues.
Hosts Ealing dominated the first-half and led 17-3 thanks to tries from Rhys Lawrence and Aled Jenkins, as well as seven points from the boot of Aaron Penberthy.
However, Bedford were much improved after the break and came to within a point of Ealing thanks to an Oli Dodge try that Miles Dorrian converted, as well as adding two more penalties to his first-half three-pointer.
But with 10 minutes remaining Trailfinders tighthead Alex Penny gave his side some breathing space again, meaning that George Edson’s late score in reply was only good enough to earn Doncaster a losing bonus points.
Nottingham leave it late against Richmond
Two late second-half tries saw Nottingham beat basement boys Richmond 20-8 for just their third win of the campaign.
Richmond, searching for their first points of the season, went ahead through Rob Kirby’s penalty after 10 minutes, only for George Worth to level matters with one of his own.
The game’s first try arrived on 26 minutes as James Stephenson raced on to his own chip to dot down for his first Nottingham score, but the sides were locked at 8-8 at the break as Jason Phipps peeled off the back of a maul to score for Richmond.
And that was as good as it got for the visitors, although they kept Nottingham at bay until the 72nd minute when Ben Brownlie put the hosts ahead with his first try for the club, before Murray McConnell added another score with a minute remaining.