The British & Irish Cup returned this weekend and with English clubs topping two of the pools and with plenty more in contention, we wrap up all the action from this weekend’s games.
Bedford turn the tables on Ealing
Bedford Blues captain Ed Taylor admitted it was a day of mixed emotions after he watched his men fight back from 14-0 down after 13 minutes to draw 19-19 with Ealing Trailfinders.
Alun Walker went over for Ealing’s first, with Aaron Penberthy adding the extras for the London side, who – currently third in the league – have been the surprise package in this year’s Greene King IPA Championship.
The hosts could not escape their own half and Penberthy pinned Bedford back with a penalty to the corner before Walker went over for a second converted score.
Number eight Jason Hill made the most of consistent Ealing infringements at the driving maul, powering over from close range.
Two quick-fire penalties from Jake Sharp moved Bedford within touching distance at 14-13, but Walker went over for his third of the afternoon just after the break to give Ealing daylight again at 19-13.
Though Myles Dorrian’s two penalties rescued a draw for Bedford, Ealing remain a point clear at the top of Pool 5 and Taylor said he expected more from the game.
He said: “While we are happy to have come back from 14-0 down, when we are in their 22 in the dying minutes we want to come away with points and the win.”
Relentless Irish down Pirates
GKIPA Championship leaders London Irish downed league rivals Cornish Pirates 33-24 at the Madejski Stadium to make it a perfect three from three in the British & Irish Cup.
Jacob Atkins got London Irish’s first score, Gerard Ellis with the initial break before the 19-year-old got over out wide before Conor Gilsenan went over for a second to put Irish 12-0 up after 15 minutes.
Jack Arnott’s try and Will Cargill’s penalty pulled Cornish Pirates close, but Irish again rose to the challenge, Fijian back rower Senitiki Nayalo getting the Exiles’ third, which Greig Tonks converted.
Dave Porecki wrapped up the bonus point before half time, his debut try for the club putting them 26-10 ahead at the break.
Cargill struck back with an interception after half time while Arnott completed his double late on in the half, but youngster Matt Williams also crossed for Irish to make victory comfortable.
Seven-try Nottingham dominate Richmond
Hooker Jimmy Stevens scored two tries as Nottingham ran riot in a 43-3 win against Richmond.
Joe Cobden scored after a minute before Alastair Chisholm registered Richmond’s only points of the afternoon.
Nottingham’s maul earned Stevens his two tries, while Buckley, Conor Bullivant, Calum Hall and Morgan Eames all went over.
The Green and Whites face Richmond again next Saturday after moving level on ten points with Leinster ‘A’ and Scarlets Premiership Select.
Jersey Reds aid B&I chances
Ninth-place Greene King IPA Championship side Jersey put themselves in a strong position to progress out of a packed Pool 1 in the British & Irish Cup with a 22-13 win away to London Scottish.
Ulster A and Scottish remain ahead of them, but with just a point separating the three and Jersey welcoming Scottish at St Peter next Friday, it is all to play for.
Captain Joe Buckle got Jersey off the mark when he piled over from the back of a maul, only for Alec Coombes to give Scottish an 8-7 half-time advantage thanks to his try.
It was Coombes who struck again just after the break, but Gary Graham put Jersey ahead before Kuki Ma’afu denied Scottish a bonus-point with a vital late score.
Munster too strong for battling Titans
Tries from JP Estelles and Santi Socino were not enough to deny a powerful Munster ‘A’ side claiming all five points against Rotherham Titans at Clifton Lane.
The win moved Munster ‘A’ into first place in Pool 2 by a solitary point, though they have played one game fewer than Titans and Doncaster Knights.
James Cronin went over twice in the first half for Munster ‘A’, while Te Aihe Toma also went over and Bill Johnston was superb from the tee.
Around the grounds
Connacht ‘A’ lost out 20-17 at home to Ospreys Premiership Select, leaving them rooted to the bottom of Pool 3, while Leinster ‘A’ dominated Scarlets Premiership Select 65-13 to move top of Pool 4 and Ulster ‘A’ edged Cardiff Blues Premiership Select 16-10 to edge ahead of London Scottish In Pool 1.