Weekend Review: Hull Ionians take top spot as Huddersfield and Otley also eye promotion

Try double: Lewis Workman scored a brace of tries as Huddersfield moved up to third in National Two North. (Picture: Raymond Morris)
Try double: Lewis Workman scored a brace of tries as Huddersfield moved up to third in National Two North. (Picture: Raymond Morris)
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Rotherham Titans lost a fourth match in their last six, with Plymouth Albion winning 24-17 in National One.

No 8 Alex Nagle-Taylor scored both Rotherham’s tries, and Alex Dolly kicked both conversions and a penalty.

A below-par performance from Hull Ionians still proved enough for them to beat Fylde, knocking them off the top of the table and strengthening their push for the National Two (North) title with a 34-22 win.

With title rivals Chester only managing a draw at Stourbridge the East Yorkshire side leap-frogged both teams above them, but in truth they struggled to find a good rhythm.

The Lancashire side drew first blood with a converted try after just two minutes, but Ionians kept in the hunt with full-back Lewis Minikin kicking penalties on six and 14 minutes.

Fylde added a penalty to take their advantage to 10-6, but the Yorkshire side took the lead on the half-hour with hooker Ben Stephenson crashing over and Minikin converting.

They would not lose that lead, and extended it with left winger Toni Kuku racing in on 57 minutes, Minikin converting.

Fylde narrowed the gap with a try shortly after, but replacement Adam Brown added Ionians’ third try with ten minutes remaining and Minikin secured the bonus point with their fourth try on 76 minutes. Fylde had the final word though, a late try narrowing the scoreline.

Huddersfield also climbed above Fylde, taking third spot after securing a 27-24 victory at Hinckley – although they missed out on a four-try bonus point that could have seen them take the lead.

Prop Harry Whitfield opened their account after 15 minutes, stand-off Chris Johnson converting, and although the Midlands outfit ran in a try shortly afterwards the Yorkshire side remained in control.

Johnson kicked a penalty, and converted tries by centre Lewis Workman on 47 and 53 minutes to extend their lead to 24-5.

The hosts hit back with two tries to narrow to 24-19, but a drop-goal from Johnson made it 27-19 to the visitors, meaning Hinckley’s late converted try only gave them a bonus point, but not the win.

Otley lost out 
25-22 at Tynedale despite tries from winger Alex Beaumont, centre Tom de Glanville and full-back Ben Magee.

They had battled back from 22-8 behind and were awarded a penalty. But instead of opting for the kick they chose a lineout and tried to go for the match-winning try. However, they came up inches short of the line.

Had Otley won they would have pulled to within just four points of the leadership of National Two North, but as it is they sit fifth, six points behind tumbling leaders Fylde with the top four separated by just two points.

Wharfedale secured a 
44-20 win over South Leicester to continue their climb up the table.

South Leicester opened up a 12-0 lead in the first 13 minutes, but Wharfedale hit back with scrum-half Sam Gaudie and centre Harry Bullough touching down, stand-off Jack Blakeney-Edwards converting one.

The visitors added a penalty that Blakeney-Edwards matched to level at 15-15, and with Gaudie’s 51st-minute try being matched by South Leicester the match teetered at 20-20 with 20 minutes to play.

But Wharfedale proved ruthless in the closing stages with 24 points, scoring further tries by full-back Louis Brown, wing forward Joe Metcalfe and winger Oli Cicognini, and Blakeney-Edwards kicked all three conversions and a penalty too.

Sheffield Tigers had a narrow defeat, with visitors Preston Grasshoppers winning 27-24 at Dore Moor.

Their tries came from second row Alan Symcox, wing forward William Wallace, full-back Peter Swatkins and centre Tom 
Hart.

But they take two bonus points from the loss and did well to battle back from 27-12 behind early in the second half.

Leaders Hull continued their good form in the North Premier League with a 26-8 win at Alnwick.

Harrogate also secured a good away win as they beat Kirkby Lonsdale 42-24, while Sandal also tasted victory on the road with a 36-29 win at Kendal.