RUGBY: Fantastic wins for Lions and Welsh

Rugby Lions beat leaders Evesham with a late try  PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER

Rugby Lions beat leaders Evesham with a late try PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER

Victories keep teams in contention for promotion

Well, what a tremendous weekend of rugby across the town. In a rare event, all five first teams were at home and all with mouth-watering fixtures!

Second-place Derby just edged the win at Newbold

Second-place Derby just edged the win at Newbold

At Webb Ellis Road, Rugby Lions kept supporters on the edge of their seats in a rather too tense finish. Having taken a 10-7 lead just before half time, Lions found themselves 10-14 down when league leaders Evesham scored a converted try 26 minutes into the second half.

The score remained the same and approaching the end of the game fans were resigned to defeat. But with the Webb Ellis Road scoreboard clock showing 86 minutes, Lions amazingly turned the tables with a match-winning try for 15-14. That wasn’t the end though and there was still time for Evesham to win a penalty five minutes later, which was kicked wide, and Lions managed to hang on until the whistle blew with the clock showing 53 minutes!

The top of Midlands 3 West (South) sees Southam and Evesham top with 81 points and Lions third on 80, Southam having won 74-17 at Woodrush on Saturday.

Lions are away at 11th-placed Harbury this weekend, while Evesham play Shipston on Stour - who are tenth. Southam have a trip to seventh-placed Cheltenham North.

Old Laurentians playing league leaders Bedford Athletic

Old Laurentians playing league leaders Bedford Athletic

The final games on April 16 will see Lions at home to Ledbury, who are now fifth, behind Old Coventrians in fourth, with Southam hosting Evesham in a thrilling finish to the season.

Rugby Welsh also boosted their chances of finishing runners-up in Midlands 5 West (South) and gaining promotion when they scored five tries in a fantastic performance to beat Five Ways Old Edwardians 36-12.

The two sides are now level in second place with the final matches on April 16, although Five Ways, with their superior points difference, hold the upper hand.

Five Ways host fifth-place Copsewood, while Rugby Welsh travel to sixth-placed Trinity Guild. Keresley, who have completed their 18 games, are eight points ahead so can’t be caught and are champions.

Derby day action between Saints and Long Buckby

Derby day action between Saints and Long Buckby

It wasn’t Newbold’s day at Parkfield Road in their crucial match in the battle for the play-off place in Midlands 1 East. Although there’s still a chance, it wasn’t the result they needed, with just two games left in what has been a very successful season. This was only their fifth defeat in 24 games, having been promoted as champions alongside Old Laurentians last year.

Newbold in third spot, hosted second-placed Derby, who won a tight game 22-17. Bedford Athletic seem certain of the title with 106 points, Derby second on 98 and Newbold third on 92.

This week Newbold travel to fifth-placed Huntingdon & District and finish their season away at Ilkeston, who are sixth.

Derby host tenth-placed Northampton Old Scouts at the weekend and finish the season at Old Laurentians on the 16th.

Over at Lime Tree Avenue, Old Laurentians were taking on league leaders Bedford Athletic, but couldn’t repeat Newbold’s fine upset last month and went down 41-12.

Having mounted a brilliant challenge in recent weeks with a string of excellent wins, OLs look unlikely to escape relegation. They are now back in 13th out of the 14 teams.

OLs’ last two games to complete the season see them visit ninth-placed Bugbrooke this weekend before Derby’s visit.

And finally at John Tomalin Way in Ashlawn Road, Saturday was derby day for Rugby St Andrews against Long Buckby.

Saints’ Midlands 3 East (South) visitors won 34-23, keeping them in third spot.

Saints, who are now eighth, have a trip to ninth-placed Northampton BBOB this weekend and then finish the season at home to fourth-placed Northampton Casuals on the 16th.