RUGBY: Wins edge Newbold and Lions closer to league titles

Ben Dawes breaking through Huntingdon tackles  PICTURES BY STEVE SMITH
Ben Dawes breaking through Huntingdon tackles PICTURES BY STEVE SMITH

Weekend round-up, just two games to go now...

Newbold and Rugby Lions moved one step closer to clinching their respective league titles on Saturday.

Ben Thompson on a run cheered on by the travelling Newbold support

Ben Thompson on a run cheered on by the travelling Newbold support

Newbold did well to beat fourth-placed Huntingdon & District 33-5 away, and now need just one more win next week against bottom club Ilkeston to be sure of the title before they visit second-placed Kettering on April 22.

All Rugby’s first teams are at home next week (April 8) then all have a free week on the 15th before the final league games on the 22nd, when only OLs are at home.

Newbold lead Midlands 1 East by nine points, on 110 now, ahead of Kettering’s 101 and Old Northamptonians on 92.

Next week’s Parkfield Road opponents Ilkeston are in 14th place, and went down 29-12 at home to Melton Mowbray on Saturday. Kettering beat Market Rasen & Louth 48-15.

Rugby Lions are five points clear at the top of Midlands 2 West (South) after their 24-16 win at fourth-placed Berkswell & Balsall. Title challengers Spartans were surprisingly beaten 26-23 at seventh-placed Southam and are now third, while Silhillians are second having beaten Barkers Butts (who beat Lions 29-26 last week) 22-20.

The top of the table reads Lions 84 points, Sils 79, Spartans 76 and Berkswell & Balsall 62.

Lions can’t afford to relax when they host bottom club Dunlop at Webb Ellis Road on Saturday, before they finish the season at fifth-placed Earlsdon on the 22nd. Dunlop lost 69-31 at home to Pinley at the weekend.

After last week’s defeat by Oadby Wyggestonians, which put paid to Old Laurentians’ hopes of a play-off place, they had another tough game this week at Oakham, going down 45-12.

Peterborough are champions of Midlands 2 East (South) with 91 points, but with Oadby and Olney drawing 24-24 it looks as if the play-off place will go right to the wire. Oundle are now second on 71, having won 23-13 at Market Harborough. Oadby are third on 70 with Olney fourth on 66. OLs are fifth on 62 and Oakham sixth on 60 points.

OLs host 11th-placed Vipers at Fenley Field on Saturday and finish their season with another home game against Olney.

In their run-in which sees Rugby St Andrews facing the top three teams, they put up a good performance against the unbeaten league leaders to go down 33-21.

Saints slip back one place in Midlands 3 West (South) to seventh spot. Droitwich are confirmed champions with 20 wins from 20 games, with next week’s visitors to John Tomalin Way, Evesham second on 74. Saints’ final opponents Ledbury are third on 69.

Rugby Welsh won their penultimate game in Midlands West 5 (South) 32-7 at Atherstone. They are still fourth in the division on 44 points, just one point behind Birmingham Exiles. Birmingham Civil service are second on 70 with champions Burbage, Welsh’s final opponents of the season at Alwyn Road next week, on 81.

The other fixtures will see Atherstone at home to Birmingham Exiles and Birmingham Civil Service travelling to Copsewood.