Greene King IPA Championship: Stories from the weekend

The league leaders suffer a scare in a weekend of enthralling encounters and landmark appearances. Here are the key stories from the action in the Greene King IPA Championship.

Jittery Jersey hold on for Nottingham scalp

Having lost out to Nottingham from the final play the last time these sides faced off, it was little surprise Jersey suffered a nervous ending to their 24-19 victory.

But it was a win they had to work hard for, as Ben Morris’ magnificent 80-yard sprint and two penalties had Nottingham 11-0 up in the early stages, very much deserving of their lead.

But the visitors fought back, with Gary Graham and James Freeman scores flipping the contest, 11-17 at half-time.

And while Jake Armstrong’s score looked to seal the win, Calum Hall’s late try set up a grandstand finish before the Reds eventually held on, with this the seventh time in 10 meetings the visiting team has prevailed in a Nottingham-Jersey clash.

Exiles run close in Trailfinders thriller

Ealing Trailfinders provided an almighty scare but Tommy Bell’s late penalty ensured London Irish’s unbeaten run continued – but only by the narrowest of margins in a 23-22 victory.

That was despite the hosts taking the lead as Phil Chesters drew first blood at Vallis Way, though James Marshall’s score ensured Irish held the half-time honours.

But even after Topsy Ojo sprinted home for Irish, the Trailfinders showed no sign of giving up as Llewelyn Jones exploited a loose ball in the ruck to cross the whitewash.

And when Chesters ran in his second score, the Exiles were suddenly under threat. But the steady boot of Bell saw them take the spoils in what was a pulsating encounter.

Doncaster take honours after first-half thriller

Doncaster Knights held off a resurgent fight-back from Bedford Blues in an enthralling encounter that saw seven tries scored in the first half.

Tyson Lewis and captain Michael Hills launched Knights proceedings, while second-rower Jack Ram added a third within the first 10 minutes.

The bonus point was secured just after the half-hour mark, before Tom James and Dean Adamson led a Blues recovery.

Winger Pat Tapley scored while Adamson made his second to make it 22-31, with a triumvirate of Knights penalties seeing Doncaster take maximum points from an entertaining Greene King IPA Championship encounter.

Nilsen celebrates 200 with Carnegie win

It’s no ordinary feat to reach 200 appearances in club rugby, and hooker Phil Nilsen celebrated in some style with a Yorkshire Carnegie victory away at London Scottish.

Originally a blindside flanker, advice from former England coach Stuart Lancaster saw the 31-year-old switch to the front row – a position he seems to be flourishing in as his team took the spoils.

Jonah Holmes opened the scoring out wide for Carnegie in their 26-14 win, while Nilsen’s counterpart David Cherry hauled Scottish back.

Holmes’ second and a score from Dan Koroi saw the teams trade tries, while Pete Lucock crossed for the half’s fifth try before a second-half penalty sealed the points for the visitors.

Titans end winless run with Richmond victory

Rotherham Titans brought to an end a losing run that had spanned seven games with a much-needed victory over bottom side Richmond.

And they had debutant Lee Millar to thank, with the former London Scottish fly-half in superb form from the tee, kicking three penalties in the 23-10 success.

Millar was also instrumental in creating a wonderful opening try for George Tresidder with a superb short pass seeing Joe Barker burst through to allow the scrum-half to finish well.

No.8 Tom MacDonald added a second score, with a line-out drive once again being converted, with Cameron Mitchell later crossing in consolation.