A narrow defeat under the Friday Night Lights, at Lady Bay, saw Craig Hammond’s Archers slip to fifth in the early throes of this seasons’ Championship, losing 38-26 to leaders, Ealing Trailfinders.
Having won their opening two contests of the season, hopes were high for the season for Nottingham RFC, however, consecutive losses have quelled that somewhat – they shouldn’t be too disheartened however, Ealing have been a tough nut to crack for most in recent seasons.
Although it was a four-star performance from Archers winger, David Williams, running in four tries, the hosts were to be undone by the boot of fly-half Craig Willis, and a brace of tries from William Goodrick-Clarke, the former having kicked five conversions and a penalty.
It was however the hosts who led, in a game which see-sawed throughout, Williams crossing after quarter hour (Morgan Bunting converting), the Trailfinders though adding three tries without reply through Michael Willemse, Goodrick-Clarke, and Richard Hardwick, with Willis kicking the extra for each.
Williams crossed again as the game inched towards the half-time buzzer, Bunting again converting to keep the Archers within touching distance, however, the hosts went in with a 21-14 lead at the break.
Within five of the restart Josh Taylor crossed for the visitors’ fourth of the afternoon, Williams completing his hat-trick around the hour mark when chasing down a kick over the top to cross, this time Samuel Hollingsworth, on for Bunting minutes before, with the successful conversion.
The Trailfinders continued to keep their noses in front throughout and Goodrick-Clarke soon added his second of the game as the contest moved into the final twenty before a scrum, into the final ten, for the visitors, led eventually to a penalty three metres out and Willis kicked home to extend the advantage with minutes remaining.
Still time for more drama however, when, at the death, Archer player of the match, Williams, crossed for a beautiful finish to a tight game, the visitors though edging it by twelve at the death and the Archers, they look to get back to winning ways when heading to Hartpury University this coming Friday (24 November) night.
Moving down the pyramid, and the four sides residing in the Regional 2 Midlands North division, the Notts clubs seeing mixed fortunes over the weekend gone; Paviors, sitting third behind leaders Lichfield, and second place Long Eaton, picked up a huge, 31-22 at home to the leaders, whilst West Bridgford, in seventh, also won, 33-17 when hosting Matlock.
At Paviors, the contest was tight from the off, so much so that there was no score at the twenty minute mark, George Billam eventually crossing and converting for the hosts, Phil Eggleshaw added a second try as Pavs led 14-10 at the break.
Will Taylor, and a second of the afternoon from Eggleshaw, afforded the hosts breathing space to move 26-10 ahead with thirty minutes remaining, although the visiting leaders kept gnawing away before Harry Kerr added a fifth try late on; although Lichfield grabbed a third of their own at the death, Pavs claimed a fifth, bonus point success on the spin.
Bridgy meanwhile, hosting Matlock, also had an enjoyable afternoon when scoring five tries; Amrit Sharma opened and closed the scoring for the hosts, further tries coming from Joshua Schofield-Shaw, Niko Salmon and Ollie Haddon, Callum Gunn kicking home four of the conversions.
Newark and Mellish, in eighth and tenth respectively, both lost as the former went down 41-25 at home to Walsall, and the latter, heavily, 53-7 away to Long Eaton.
Victory for Mansfield, 38-17 at home to Burton IIs, sees them in sixth place in the Counties 1 Midlands East (N) division, they sitting one point ahead of Market Rasen, and just eight off the top four; Southwell meanwhile are fourth bottom in the division after a hard-fought, 41-14 loss, at home to the leaders, Hinckley IIs.
A local dust-up featured in the Counties 2 Midlands East (N) as Nottingham Casuals won 20-14 at Nottingham Moderns to move within a point of their hosts, they being fifth and fourth respectively
The other two Notts clubs, Newark IIs and Ashfield, are ninth and tenth respectively, the former having won 28-22 at Ashby, the latter losing 25-22 when home to Melton Mowbray in two tight contests.
Numerous clubs from across the club reside in the Counties 3 Midlands East divisions, four in the North, and six in the Central; at the weekend, in the former, East Retford suffered another drubbing, this time 60-0, when home to Mosborough, that’s now 174 conceded in their last two outings and sit fifth bottom.
Ollerton and Worksop are beneath ER, both of whom also lost with the former, 25-12 at Cleethorpes, and the latter, 13-7 at Amber Valley; at the other end of the table though, Meden Vale are joint-second as just two points split the top four of Bakewell Mannerians (39pts), Mosborough (38pts), Meden Vale (38pts), Chesterfield Panthers (37pts, Vale picking up a 21-16 victory at home to Tupton.
As for the Central division, and the remaining six sides, Keyworth and West Bridgford IIs continue to lead the way at the top, they split by just two points after the former eased past visitors Paviors IIs, 38-8, in a local clash, and the latter won 20-10 away to Sleaford.
Elsewhere Nottinghamians, adrift at the foot of the table, picked up their first victory of the season, 33-15 over Ashbourne IIs whilst Mellish IIs and Southwell IIs both lost, to Long Eaton IIs (home) and Rolls Royce (away).
In the women’s rugby, a handful of sides were in action in the NC2 Midlands (N) division with Mansfield Women winning 24-0 away to Ashfield Ladies, and Mellish Ladies winning 22-14 on the road at West Norfolk Warriors Ladies; the two victories sees Mansfield second, a point behind leaders Stamford Women, and Mellish third, two points behind their rivals (Ashfield sit third bottom, ten ahead of the bottom two).
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NottinghamRugby wasn’t to be for Nottingham who were beaten by Ealing.