- London Irish, Yorkshire Carnegie and Cornish Pirates still unbeaten
- Doncaster Knights fight back to beat Bedford Blues
London Irish, Yorkshire Carnegie and Cornish Pirates all maintained their unbeaten starts to the Greene King IPA Championship in round four with only try bonus points separating the top two.
Here are six stories from a drama-filled weekend in the second tier of English rugby.
MARSHALL FINDS FEET
New signing James Marshall marked his arrival at the Madejski Stadium with a first London Irish try on his home debut, as the Exiles secured their third try bonus-point win of the season.
The fly-half, signed from Super Rugby side Wellington Hurricanes in January, looks to be another exciting addition to the league after being set up by experienced winger Topsy Ojo.
The Exiles won 32-12 against Ealing Trailfinders with Ben Ransom (2), Joe Trayfoot and Scott Steele all crossing for the home side.
But it was ex-Bath flanker Max Northcote-Green who was awarded the man-of-the-match award for his all-round display.
McCOLL MARKS RETURN
In his first start at full-back having missed the past two games with injury, Steve McColl may been hoping for a relatively gentle re-introduction to first team duties.
Instead he ran in a length of the field try after intercepting a London Scottish pass to score the first of his two tries in the match.
Carnegie had already secured the try bonus point thanks to scores from Rob O’Donnell (2) and Ryan Burrows with Joe Ford adding 14 points with the boot.
London Scottish did score three tries of their own as the game ended 39-29 to the home side.
Full time at Headingley Carnegie and Yorkshire Carnegie have earned their fourth win of the season against London Scottish pic.twitter.com/BdHinPE4gd— Yorkshire Carnegie (@carnegierugby) September 25, 2016
RAYNER HOLDS NERVE
Lawrence Rayner’s successful conversion in the final minute saw Nottingham edge out Jersey Reds by just a single point to win 22-21.
With Jersey ahead 21-15, Nottingham had no time to kick a late penalty into touch, and multiple phases led to Tom Heard crossing for his third try in as many games.
The victory is likely to provide a much needed confidence boost for Nottingham who welcome promotion favourites London Irish on Friday night.
Late tries from Latu Makaafi and Paul Jarvis saw Doncaster Knights come back from 22-18 down to beat Bedford Blues 30-22 for their third win of the season.
Jarvis’ score not only secured the win but also earned the Knights a try bonus point.
The Blues left with a try bonus themselves after earlier scores from Jake Sharp, Jason Hill, Tom Farrell and Jacob Fields had put them in a commanding position.
But it was last season’s losing finalists, who sit fourth in the table, who were celebrating at the final whistle.
Celebrations. pic.twitter.com/TneNUVdd4q— Doncaster Knights (@DoncasterKnight) September 24, 2016
THOMAS ON TARGET FOR TITANS
Will Thomas was delighted to get on the scoresheet for the first time for his new club Rotherham Titans as a superb defensive effort was the foundation for their 18-8 victory over newly promoted Richmond.
Thomas scored 13 of his side’s points as they survived an early onslaught from Richmond, who were in search of their first points of the season.
The full-back was one of more than 20 signings made by head coach Justin Burnell over the summer as the Titans look to avoid another brush with relegation.
Delighted to get on the score sheet for the 1st time for @RotherhamRugby but getting the W was even better. Support was awesome once again!— willthomas (@willthomas10) September 25, 2016
PIRATES EDGE WELSH
An extremely tight affair on the South coast belied these two teams’ relative positions in the league and it took until the 71st minute for the decisive try to be scored by Pirates’ Tom Duncan.
Will Cargill kicked three penalties and a conversion to help his side record a narrow 16-10 win over London Welsh in a hard-fought affair.
A try in either half from Welsh, from Miles Mantella and Josh McNally, ensured that the visitors left with a bonus point – something they have managed from every one of their three defeats.