Tigers impress to close gap on rivals although Ionians are handed clinical lesson by Students

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Sheffield Tigers 35 Hull 10

Sheffield Tigers, only one place but nine league points behind their rivals prior to this game, narrowed the gap with an impressive five-try display.

Tigers went ahead in the first two minutes when full-back Peter Swatkins touched down for a try which Jonny West converted.

West also converted when hooker Ali Thomson crashed over for a try 12 minutes later.

Hull had only 14 men on the field when James Broadley, the Tigers winger, raced over for a third try just on half time and West again added the extras to give the home side a 21-0 lead at the turnround.

A fourth converted try, centre Jon Buchanan touching down and West against adding the points, put Tigers 28-0 ahead before Hull replied with two tries in the space of six minutes, both by flanker Rob Devonshire.

Then, in the final minute of the game, Swatkins dived over for his second try and West made it five conversions out of five.

Hull’s bigger pack ensured a better share of the ball, but Tigers tackled well and their backs outplayed the visitors.

Hull Ionians 18 Loughborough Students 24

Hull Ionians and Loughborough Students both played some excellent rugby, but two strong defences gave nothing away, with the home side’s back row of Will Nutbeen, Luke Skyrme and Joe Sanders taking a joint man of the match award.

The home team deserved their 12-10 lead at the break but the Students came out fired up and reduced their errors to give them the edge.

The Students scored after just 10 minutes taking advantage of a quickly-taken penalty for centre Will Simpson to find space to score, Andy Hall converting. Then Hull Ionians controlled most of the possession and looked the better team.

A long pass in their own 22 released Will Du Randt, who sent Sam Wilson clear to the corner to score. Penalties forced an attacking line-out and a good take from Joe Makin set up the drive for Luke Skyrme to score, Dave Marshall adding the wide out conversion.

Hall replied with a penalty but great teamwork saw Hull Ionians take play to the line, although they were crucially just held up over it as the half-time whistle came.

The Students were transformed after the break and at last won their own line-out too.

Hall kicked an early penalty then a charged-down kick saw Ed Rolston race in to score.

Both sides gained good positions but solid defences gave nothing away.

Marshall kicked a penalty to make it 15-18 then Hall kicked two to go nine points clear, before a final penalty from Marshall gave the hosts a well-earned bonus point with the Students relieved to end the game ahead.

Otley 12 Huddersfield 39

THE return of lock Howard Parr from a second tour of Afghanistan certainly stiffened up the Otley pack who stood up well to a vigorous Huddersfield side but their efforts brought scant reward due to too many errors,

Player-coach Tom Rock was the only player to cross the line, once as fly-half on 19 minutes and then in the 68th minute after he had switched to scrum-half.

Otley did build opportunities, but Huddersfield snuffed out any danger and took their chances with aplomb, starting in the first minute when a turnover, the first of many, gave winger Adam Ryder an open run to the corner where the excellent fly-half Chris Johnson easily converted.

The scores were levelled when the home forwards prepared the way for Rock, with winger James Twomey converting.

But Huddersfield hit back quickly with a penalty from Johnson, quickly followed by tries from captain and No 8 Nicholas Sharpe and full-back Tom Owen.

Both those scores were safely converted and, two minutes into the second half, Johnson struck a second penalty.

Then, with Otley flattering to deceive they consolidated, Ryder running round to the posts to give Johnson another simple conversion and winger David Hall slipping away from a maul to run in unopposed.

Fittingly it was Parr who set up Otley’s late try, taking a clearing kick at pace to sprint to the line where, for once, the ball was eventually retrieved for Rock to go over.