SANDAL returned to winning ways with a strong 25-20 victory at South Leicester which included a bonus point.
The visitors had managed only one win from their last five and knew the task at Welford Road would be a tough one. However, a solid start included a try from full-back Tom Coad, followed by a penalty by Greg Wood.
Coad’s second extended the advantage and by half-time Sandal were 13-5 in front. Two further tries after the interval from prop Luke Norbury and lock James Stewart, one of which was converted, took the score to 25-10 and, after a brief comeback from Leicester, Sandal held out.
Huddersfield failed to trouble the scoreboard in the second half as they lost 31-15 at Caldy.
They were 12-0 down in four minutes, having conceded two tries. Scrum-half Dan Jeffrey got them back with an individual score which was followed by a penalty from fly-half Chris Bell.
Huddersfield went ahead on 20 minutes when outside centre Elliot Hodgson ran through three tacklers from 30 yards to score a converted try but that was as good as it got. A third try from Caldy put them 17-15 ahead at the break and a dominant second half, using the wind to advantage, saw the hosts home comfortably.
Stourbridge stole a march on Otley in the battle at the top end with a 25-8 home win.
The sides went into the game in third and fourth place, with Otley two points behind.
Otley took the lead with an unconverted try by centre Mike Coady. Stourbridge hit back with five points but it was the visitors who had the advantage at the break by a narrow margin thanks to the boot of captain Stephen Depledge.
With the wind howling, that was as good as it got as Stourbridge used the conditions more effectively to add a converted try and two penalties before a converted try finished the scoring.
A below strength Harrogate gave their worst display of the season and lost 23-8 against hosts Broadstreet, who were strengthened by four Coventry loan players.
Three further injuries, including a serious head injury to Chris Wilson, added to Harrogate’s problems.
Lewis Minikin’s penalty put Harrogate ahead in the 30th minute but Broadstreet’s Sam Smith sprinted through for a converted try.
Ben Reaveley replaced the injured Connor Ward at tight-head but Harrogate continued to dominate the scrums before winger Steve Parsons, who was later injured, helped Steve Maycock make it 8-7 at the interval.
Penalties from Chapman sandwiched a try from Luke Hibberd before Chris Idehen scored the final try.