It has certainly been tough at the top this season in the rugby, just ask Championship side Nottingham, and the Regional 1 North-East pairing of Paviors, and West Bridgford, the trio struggling, yet battling away, at the wrong end of their respective divisions.
There’s better joy further down the system for Nottinghamshire clubs though, especially for Newark, Mellish, and Mansfield say, they all enjoying themselves in the top halves of their divisions, both Newark sides enjoying a good season on the field.
In the Regional 2 North Midlands, Newark’s firsts are sitting nicely in mid-table, and just five points off third place Sutton Coldfield (with a game in hand), ahead of Saturday’s trip to third-bottom Sihillians.
Winning their last four outings, Newark enjoyed a comfortable, 62-9 rout of Melbourne last time out and look to maintain the pressure on sides above them in the table, and that continues away from home in their next outing.
Potene Rolls-Paewei was on hand to kick home six conversions following a flurry a tries from the hosts; Alex Scott, Will Britten, Matt Walton and Scott Edmed all crossed twice each, whilst further tries were added by James Henry Brogden and James Tarbatt at Kelham Road.
Newark IIs meanwhile, down in the Counties 3 Midlands East (North) East division, lead the way (63 points), by two, from second place Meden Vale (61 points), just seven points splitting the top four, all-Notts, clubs; the seconds they defeated visiting local rivals, Southwell IIs (in fourth on 56 points, Nottingham Medics in third) a few weeks back as the battle for promotion heats up.
Alex O’Dell notched a try and three conversions for Newark IIs in their win over Southwell the previous week, as Scott Edmed also crossed for a hat-trick, and Rhys Overland chipping in with one himself.
Mellish are breathing heavily down leaders Hinckley IIs necks at the top of the Counties 1 Midlands East (North), and the Notts-based outfit host the league leaders, just eight separating next after Mellish won 22-8 away to Southwell in their last outing – both sides having lost the previous week.
In the Counties 2 Midlands East (North), Mansfield and Nottingham Casuals are split by just four at the top of the table, Nottingham Moderns are in fifth, and Ashfield sixth, East Retford having recently moved off the bottom of the table when defeating visitors Sileby Town 22-10 a few weeks back.
In the last round of matches in the division there was a destructive, 76-5 success, for Mansfield, when they tore apart Bakewell Mannerians, the Casual defeated Ashfield 33-10, and the Moderns won 69-17 at a beleaguered Sileby; upcoming four of the Notts clubs face home games as the Moderns host East Retford, and Mansfield welcome Grimsby, the Casuals welcome Gainsborough, and Ashfield entertain Boston.
The remainder of the Counties 3 Midlands East (North) East division, which boasts a number of Nottinghamshire clubs, Paviors IIs, Nottinghamians, Ollerton and bottom club, Worksop, also included, has seen mixed results of late.
Alongside Newark IIs defeat of Southwell, Meden Vale saw off Ollerton 32-12, and Paviors IIs won 26-8 against Sleaford, whilst this weekend, Paviors IIs host Meden Vale and Worksop welcome Ollerton in the two, local clashes, and Nottinghamians, they travel to Sleaford.
As for those sides at the top, Nottingham return to league action following defeats in the Championship Cup, travelling to Ampthill, who are directly beneath them in the league, and just fourteen points splitting the bottom four – Richmond and London Scottish making up the quartet.
And the duo of Paviors, and West Bridgford, both lost last time out as the former went down 36-14 at Cleckeaton and the latter, in making the long trip north, lost 38-15 in Alnwick; with Scunthorpe splitting the two Notts clubs at the bottom of the division, Paviors, who’re in action this weekend, make that trip to Alnwick, West Bridgford being inactive.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NewarkRUFC Newark in action recently against Melbourne.