There was a big win for the Archers on Sunday afternoon, Craig Hammond’s RFU Championship side picking up just their sixth win of what has been a tough campaign.
Hosting fourth place Bedford Blues, at Lady Bay, Nottingham pulled out all the stops to go and claim a 26-24 success, and, in doing so, registered four tries, and three conversions, along the way.
The high-flying visitors would take an early lead, crossing inside the opening five minutes, however, the kick smacked the upright; five minutes later and the Archers slung themselves into a slender lead, flanker Nathan Tweedy crossing for his first of the afternoon whilst fly-half Samuel Hollingsworth kick sailed between the posts with a long conversion.
As the clock ticked towards the twenty minute mark, the Archers further extended their lead, with the same one-two as the opener, Hollingsworth supplying the pass for Tweedy to cross, before he kicked his second conversion of the game.
Near fifteen minutes elapsed before another score was made, this time the Blues registered for a second time, and this time, the conversion was a good one, moving within two points of the hosts; however, as the contest ticked towards half-time, the Archers cross for a third time.
Pressure on the halfway line paid dividends as the Archers forced a Blues mishandle of the ball, Ryan Olowofela on hand to claim the ball and make the charge for the goal-line, Hollingsworth again with the conversion, the score affording the hosts a 21-12, interval lead.
The second half would begin pretty much the same way as the first had, a Bedford try, but again missing the conversion; the Olofowela’s, Jordan and Ryan would then combine minutes later, the former nearly getting away before being pulled back by the officials deeming that the offload was in a forward motion.
With the hour mark having been passed, and the contest delicately poised at 21-17, there was a feeling that, whoever got the next try, would go on to win the game, which went in favour of the hosts, and Sam Hollingsworth, he crossing for the Archers’ fourth of the afternoon after kicking the ball over the defence and chasing down the ball. Unfortunately, he then failed to convert his own try and the lead was at seven points.
Meanwhile, at the other end, the Blues replied quickly, finding a gap in the defence, with the conversion also going over, the visitors moving within two points, and putting the Lady Bay crowd, on the edge of their seats.
The contest stayed at 26-24 despite efforts, from both attacks, to gain some match-winning points, the hosts holding on for the win, and the points.
Archers Starting XV – 15 Jordan Olowofela, 14 David Williams, 13 Jack Neville, 12 Charlie Thacker, 11 Ryan Olowofela, 10 Sam Hollingsworth, 9 Michael Stronge, 1 Aniseko Sio, 2 Harry Clayton, 3 Xavier Valentine, 4 Callum Allen, 5 Sefa Maloney, 6 Carl Kirwan, 7 Nathan Tweedy, 8 George Cox
There’s just four games remaining this season for Nottingham, and there’s a long, tricky, away-day up next, the Archers travelling to the Jersey Reds on 1 April, before hosting Ampthill (14 April), making the short trip to Coventry (22 April) and finishing at home to London Scottish (28 April) at the end of the month.
The final day of the Regional 1 North-East would see the bottom two, both Nottinghamshire clubs, collide, second bottom Paviors taking the plaudits in a 34-10 victory over West Bridgford, who finish bottom of the table.
Thomas Davies crossed twice for Paviors in the opening half hour, before Callum Gunn crossed for the visitors just before the interval.
Paviors continued in the same vein upon the restart as well, Jake Baldry crossing early in the second, before Davies completed his hat-trick on the hour; Samuel Little gave the visitors a little hope when he added a second for them, but the hosts soon moved out of sight.
Owen Taylor added a fifth try, before Davies crossed for his fourth of the game, and Paviors’ sixth in total, with six minutes remaining, and created a sixteen-point, finishing margin, between the bottom two sides.
Only a handful more games were played in the lower divisions at the weekend, respective seasons now ending and, in the Counties 2 Midlands East (N) fifth place Nottingham Moderns claimed a 54-24 success away to Bakewell Mannerians, and East Retford, second bottom in the division, stole a rare victory, winning 20-3 when home to Belper.
Of the other Notts side in the division, Mansfield have finished in second place, Nottingham Casuals third, and the Moderns, in fifth.
Meanwhile, in the Counties 3 Midlands East (N) East, victory for Newark IIs confirmed them as champions, they seeing off Worksop 48-5 before a trip to Paviors IIs in their last match of the season; Meden Vale finished in third place, Nottingham Medics fourth, and Southwell IIs are fifth.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NottinghamRugby a vital victory for Nottingham over Bedford.