Nick Thomson scored two tries as Sheffield Tigers took a convincing 28-10 victory against Bromsgrove.
Playing into the wind in the first half, Tigers kept their opponents contained for much of it although Bromsgrove did score a penalty after nine minutes to take the lead. But then came the breakthrough for Tigers, with Thomson swerving around several players on his way to the line before crashing over out wide.
Prop Ben Buxton drove through Bromsgrove’s last line of defence to run in their second try of the game.
Tom Outram served up a piece of individual brilliance, collecting the ball just inside the opposing half before making a storming run to score the third.
Bromsgrove got their try on 75 minutes but it was soon followed by Thomson’s second and Tigers’ fourth as he collected a fumbled kick and powering home.
Hull, who are nine places below their rivals, went within a whisker of pulling off an upset when they were edged out 32-30 in their match at Sedgley Park.
Hull turned round 16-11 ahead and held their lead until the 47th minute when Sedgley eased in front with a converted try. James Cameron then missed a last-minute penalty attempt which would have swung the result.
Otley came within a whisker of picking up points at third-placed Stourbridge, only for a late try to undo their hard work as they fell to a 34-25 defeat.
After collecting early points via Mark Ireland’s boot, Otley saw the promotion hopefuls hit back with a converted try. A measured response included a second penalty to make it 7-6 and the prospects looked good until two sucker-punch tries gifted the hosts a 17-6 advantage.
A fourth try after the break made it 24-6 and although Otley pulled back a try in the third quarter, Stourbridge extended the lead to 29-1. With time running out, scrum-half Stephen Depledge and lock Simon Willet grabbed tries, converted by Ireland.
However, a late try for the home side prevented Otley from returning to Cross Green with anything to show for their efforts, apart from a retained sense of belief.
A weakened Harrogate side beat Preston Grasshoppers 25-15 despite the home side taking an early 7-0 lead.
Lewis Minikin hauled the visitors back into the match and sparked Harrogate into life.
They went ahead from a Callum Irvine drop goal while Daniel Matthews scored in the corner and Rowntree converted.
The sides traded penalties after the break before Harrogate’s final score came from a mesmerising, converted, Irvine try.
Preston’s final consolation saw Luke Proctor crash over in the corner.