- Lucky 13 for leaders London Irish
- Victories for Yorkshire, Ealing, Scottish, Doncaster and Pirates
London Irish maintained their unbeaten run while Yorkshire Carnegie remain hot on their heels after an eventful 13th round in the Greene King IPA Championship. Here are the key stories from the action.
Flockhart sets new Knights record
Dougie Flockhart became Doncaster Knights all-time leading points scorer as he kicked 14 points in their 34-3 victory over bottom club Richmond on Saturday.
Flockhart has represented Scotland Under-20s and was the leading Championship points scorer in the 2014/15 season and scored a further 169 last year in just 15 appearances.
The inside centre needed just eight points to move to the top of the Knights’ points scoring charts, a feat he achieved inside half an hour on New Year's Eve.
He converted all four of the Knights tries – scored by Mat Clark (2), Robin Hislop and Ben Hunter – as well as two penalties.
Late blitz helps Pirates to steal maximum points
Three tries in six second-half minutes saw Cornish Pirates take all five points from their New Year’s Eve fixture against Nottingham after a spirited fightback from the Midlands’ side.
Kyle Moyle, Nicolas De Battista and Dan Lee all crossed in the closing moments as the Pirates secured a 41-20 victory which had looked nailed on when they led 20-3 at half-time.
Excellent game of rugby that. In the balance until a blistering 10 minutes secured maximum points for the Pirates.— Cornish Pirates (@CornishPirates1) December 31, 2016
But Nottingham fought back with tries from Charlie Thacker and Ben Hooper to draw level before the late surge saw the hosts secure their victory.
It was the Pirates second home league success of the season.
Irish march into 2017 with unbeaten record in tact
Fans at the Madejski Stadium were given a real treat as London Irish recorded their 13th straight Greene King IPA Championship victory on New Year’s Eve.
Two tries from Ofisa Treviranus helped Irish to a bonus point 36-21 victory over Bedford Blues who scored three tries themselves.
But hooker Dave Porecki, Jerry Sexton and a penalty try saw Irish to the bonus point – the 10th time in 13 wins where they have scored four or more tries.
THANK YOU: Today's attendance was 4,345. Thank you for your continued support which was outstanding today. Have a great night! pic.twitter.com/EtBBeVaDaT— London Irish (@LiRFC) December 31, 2016
And it was Irish who marched into 2017 at the top of the table, eight points ahead of Yorkshire Carnegie, as they maintained their perfect record.
Carnegie maintain chase of Irish
Three first-half tries were enough for Yorkshire Carnegie to edge past London Welsh 20-13 to keep the pressure on London Irish at the top of the table.
Richard and Mike Mayhew both got tries, as did Ryan Burrows, in the first half as the hosts led 17-3 at the break.
Replacement Ben Vellacott crossed for Welsh in the second half and with Ben West being shown a yellow card Glyn Hughes was able to get the visitors inside losing bonus point range.
Trailfinders and Scottish maintain play-off push
Ealing Trailfinders responded to Cornish Pirates’ victory on New Year’s Eve with a 19-13 success over Jersey Reds to maintain fourth spot in the table.
Centre Joe Munro scored his second try of the season against the Reds while fly-half Aaron Penberthy kicked 14 points in total, including a drop goal.
There was no lack of entertainment for fans at London Scottish either as the home side ran in five tries in their 36-15 win over Rotherham Titans.
Joe Atkinson, Ed Hoadley, Jason Harries, Patrick Kelly and Robert Fergusson all dotted down while full-back Peter Lydon converted four of the tries and kicked a penalty.
FULL TIME: London Scottish 36-15 Rotherham Titans. Five tries, a five star performance to start 2017 with a convincing victory!— London Scottish FC (@LSFCOfficial) January 1, 2017
It keeps sixth-placed Scottish just five points behind the Knights in third as the battle for the play-off spots continues.