- All the news and stories from the national leagues
- Hartpury RFC earn historic promotion
- Read more about Jake Pollderi's breakthrough year here
It was a weekend to remember for Hartpury RFC while the battle for promotion stepped up a gear in National Two North and South. Here are all the top stories from the weekend's action in the national leagues.
Hartpury make history
It was a landmark weekend in the national leagues as Hartpury RFC secured promoted to the Greene King IPA Championship with a 57-21 win over Old Albanians.
It has been a remarkable journey for the Gloucestershire side who entered the league system in 2004 and they made the step up to the second tier of English rugby in quite some style.
They have won the league with five matches still to play having remained undefeated this season and have missed out on only two bonus points. The team have scored 1214 points in the process, while conceding just 432.
Their win over Old Albanians wasn’t without some drama, with the champions reduced to 12 players at one point but the victory never looked in doubt. A hat-trick from Matthew Protheroe helped the side on their way to a famous victory.
Obscured by champagne... Life could be worse! Hartpury RFC - National 1 Champions 2016-17! pic.twitter.com/5ERdKcXruT— Hartpury College RFC (@HartpuryRFC) March 11, 2017
At the other end of National One, bottom-side Macclesfield produced a stunning performance to beat Loughborough Students 42-38, earning a bonus point.
The win is only their third of the season but they remain 25 points away from league survival.
A crucial clash between Hull Ionians and Blaydon ended with a 17-17 draw, as both sides look to avoid relegation. Meanwhile Esher remain in danger of slipping down after losing 24-19 to Rosslyn Park on Friday night.
Caldy in pole position
With five games remaining in National Two North, Caldy look set to make the step up to National One with their latest win over Stourbridge putting them an 11 point lead at the top of the table.
The 29-23 victory was their 17th a row with their only loss coming in the first week of the season.
Their promotion isn’t quite secured though with second-placed Sale continuing their fine run of form over the weekend with a 63-27 win over Wharfedale.
At the bottom of the table, Preston’s hopes of staging a late fightback to secure their place in the league next season took a major blow as they were beaten 30-0 by Sheffield Tigers.
Down to the wire
The race to reach National One looks likely to go down to the wire as both Bishop’s Stortford and Chinnor continue their winning runs.
Stortford overcame Henley 38-28 while Chinnor beat Canterbury 47-19 to keep both teams in the fight for automatic promotion.
Old Elthamians aren’t yet out of the race in third place, with their 20-7 victory over Redingensians on Saturday leaving them six points away from Chinnor.
At the bottom of the table, Exmouth’s drop down to National Three is looking increasingly likely after their 36-12 loss to Cinderford while Barnes remain in danger despite grabbing a bonus point in their 31-43 loss to Bury st Edmunds.