- Exiles seal top spot
- Play-off race hots up
All the key stories from the weekend's Greene King IPA Championship action.
Doncaster claim Yorkshire bragging rights
Yorkshire Carnegie slipped to a fifth straight defeat in all competitions as Doncaster Knights claimed the Yorkshire bragging rights, hanging on for a 31-26 win.
They did it the hard way as Carnegie threw everything at them in the final stages, while Doncaster were reduced to 13 after late yellow cards for Matt Challinor and Simon Humberstone.
The Knights had looked to be in control when they led 31-14 with nine minutes to go, thanks to a double from Andrew Bulumakau, but the visitors roared back in the closing stages.
In the end though Doncaster held on and are now fourth in the table, while Carnegie remain in second place.
St Patrick’s Day success wraps up top spot for Irish
London Irish have won every game they have played this season and they guaranteed they will finish top of the Greene King IPA Championship table with their St Patrick’s Day win over Cornish Pirates.
On one of the biggest days in the Exiles’ calendar they were dominant from the start, running in six tries in the first half in their 39-10 victory which was played in front of a Championship record crowd of 11,671.
It was fitting that club stalwart Topsy Ojo both started and finished the scoring, adding two more tries to his tally for the season as Irish ensured that they will end the regular season top of the pile.
That means they will start on the road in April’s play-off semi-final first leg before the return fixture at the Madejski the following week.
Scottish get their revenge
The Athletic Ground is home to two teams in the Greene King IPA Championship this season and has already played host to a dramatic derby this season and London Scottish got their revenge on Richmond on Saturday.
The teams play for the Bill & Temple Quaich and it was Richmond who had claimed the silverware earlier this season in their first victory in the Championship.
We've got the winning feeling back! A great win in yesterday's Athletic Ground Derby pic.twitter.com/mlhaPeKyiJ— London Scottish FC (@LSFCOfficial) March 19, 2017
But on this occasion the Exiles secured bragging rights with a 19-8 victory, thanks in large part to a lightning quick start.
Jamie Stevenson’s try after five minutes was converted by Peter Lydon, who then added a second converted score on nine minutes in a dream opening.
After a Rob Kirby penalty for Richmond, Scottish grabbed their third try through Harry Sheppard, again converted by Lydon, and although they couldn’t manage a bonus-point score it was still more than enough for the win.
Ealing edge closer to the play-offs
Ealing Trailfinders’ brilliant season continued with a blistering 59-12 win over Nottingham to consolidate their place in the top four.
They still have a little work to do to wrap up a play-off place, with Jersey and Cornish Pirates still in contention, but the bonus-point success pushes them closer to a post-season berth.
The Trailfinders ran in eight tries in all in a free-flowing display, with try doubles for Lewis Jones and Miles Mantella as well as a penalty try just three minutes in.
By 26 minutes they had already secured the bonus point, thanks to the first of Mantella’s scores while Rory Clegg chipped in with 15 points from the boot.
Reds revival continues
Jersey Reds are still right in the hunt for a place in the top four after extending their winning run to eight with victory over Rotherham Titans.
They were pushed all the way in the 17-9 success over the Yorkshire side but did enough to close the gap on the top four.
Jersey 17 Rotherham 9 pic.twitter.com/AzXjiZmg62— Jersey Reds (@jerseyrfc) March 18, 2017
Two Lee Millar penalties had given Rotherham a 6-0 half-time lead but Jersey fought back and tries from Simon Kerrod and Nick Haining were enough to see them home.