- National leagues draw to a close
- Old Elthamians and Sale to meet in play-off on 6th May
The national leagues drew to a close over the weekend, with a thrilling final round of fixtures marking a fitting finish to a spectacular season in levels three and four.
Hartpury finish unbeaten
Hartpury College ended their season in National One unbeaten, finishing with a 43-22 victory over Blackheath, to complete what has been a remarkable season for the Gloucestershire side.
With 30 successive wins, the side finished with a 923 points difference, and will play their rugby in the Greene King IPA Championship next season.
However, with Hartpury's promotion confirmed weeks ago, the real drama of the weekend took place lower down the table where the team to drop down alongside Macclesfield to National 2 came down to the final weekend.
A last minute try from Old Albanians consigned Blaydon to a 29-24 defeat, with Hull Ionians' earlier victory over Darlington Mowden Park meaning Blaydon will drop down to National 2 North.
Yesterday was a special day. 4 wins on the bounce, National 1 next season. Tonight's Awards dinner is going to be very enjoyable. pic.twitter.com/Nh8LMAZjAu— Hull Ionians RUFC (@Ioniansrufc) April 30, 2017
Blaydon's relegation ends a 10-year stay in National One, with the side only able to win eight matches this season. However there is hope for the side who will be led by former Scotland international Ally Hogg as director of rugby next season.
Sheffield Tigers escape drop
Caldy will be hopeful of their chances in National One next season after cruising to the league win, despite losing their final game of the season 35-34 against Sedgley Park.
They may be joined by second-placed Sale should they come through their play-off game against Old Elthamians on Saturday. The side from the north west seem quite excited for this one....
At the bottom of the table, Harrogate, Scunthorpe, and Preston Grasshoppers were confirmed as the relegated teams after all three lost on the weekend.
Sheffield Tigers' 36-23 win over Luctonians secured their place in National Two North for another season, which was met by wild celebrations at the final whistle.
Old Elthamians reach play-offs
Old Elthamians secured a play-off place to give themselves a chance of reaching National One after thumping Barnstaple 68-21 on the final day.
At the bottom of the table, Barnes joined Exmouth in dropping down from National Two South after London Irish Wild Geese and Worthing pulled off victories on the closing weekend to keep them safe.
Many thanks to all our supporters & our sponsors, we appreciate you all. It's been a tough year, but we'll bounce back stronger #aces— Harrogate Rugby (@Harrogate_Rugby) April 29, 2017
Meanwhile Barnstaple are reprieved from relegation on the basis of having a better playing record than Harrogate.
RUGBY NEWS - And it's massive news, WE ARE STAYING UP, NATIONAL 2 AGAIN NEXT SEASON!!— BarnstapleRFC (@BarnstapleRFC) April 29, 2017