Comeback Kings Nottingham Reach Third

As victories go, that which came the way of Nottingham RFC, under the Friday Night Lights away at Hartpury University, was a special one indeed.

It was to be the first time in which the Archers had won at Hartpury, at the sixth time of asking, and they did so in style as well.

Having falling 14-0 down after just twenty minutes, Hayler and Smith crossing for the Gloucestershire hosts, Craig Hammond’s side finally got on the scoreboard twenty-six minutes in, Antonio TJ Harris crossing the line following some strong pressure by the visitors.

The hosts though continued to pile on the pressure in a strong first half, and, with Bazalgette adding a late penalty two his two conversions, the hosts went in with a 17-5, twelve-point, interval advantage.

It took near fifteen minutes off the restart for anyone to add to the score, and that went in favour of the visitors, David Williams continuing his rich vein of form to register another try; the hosts though kept their noses in front when Bazalgette added a second penalty just before the hour mark to keep the advantage at ten points.

Nottingham though somehow found it in them to not only mount an epic comeback, but turn the game into a winning one, Samuel Hollingsworth first notched a penalty them three minutes later, Marcus Ramage made a dash from inside his own half and beneath the home posts, Hollingsworth converting to tie the contest at twenty apiece.

A little over ten remaining and, for the first time in the contest, the Archers led, Ellis Mee taking on the Hartpury back-line to score, Hollingsworth adding the extra with the conversion and, from being 20-10 behind just ten minutes prior, the Archers were 27-20 ahead.

Hartpury, shocked, tried to get back into the game but, despite the pressure they were applying, it was Nottingham who’d strike again, Hollingsworth crossing in the corner with a matter of minutes left on the clock and, suddenly, after a dire first half which saw them fourteen down at one point, the Archers had registered five tries, and won by twelve.

It was a result which saw Hammond’s side move back up into third place in the Championship table, three behind second place Doncaster Knights ahead of Cambridge’s visit to Lady Bay this Friday (30 November) night.

Only a handful of games involving Notts clubs were played further down the rugby pyramid, West Bridgford having played on the Thursday night in the Regional 2 Midlands (North), they seeing off visitors Melbourne 38-15; running in some six tries, via Will Greenwood, Henry Henson, Calum Gunn, Tom Wilkins, Rhyden Teale, and Luke Risman, fly-half Gunn adding four conversions also as Bridgy moved into fifth place, three points behind rivals Paviors who sit third.

Meanwhile, down in the Counties 3 Midlands East divisions, there was plenty of local action in both the North and Central divisions; in the North, East Retford are eighth following a good win, 22-10, at home to mid-table Matlock IIs, whilst Ollerton extended their advantage over second bottom Amber Valley following a narrow, 36-34 success, at home to Bakewell Mannerians, and Worksop were on the wrong end of a drubbing away to Dronfield IIs, the hosts claiming a 55-5 success.

In the Central division the battle at the top involves two Notts clubs, Keyworth currently leading West Bridgford IIs by three points, both having collected successes on the road. Keyworth picked up a 46-12 win at Asbhourne IIs to keep their noses in front, whilst Bridgy’s second string won 20-5 away to Long Eaton IIs.

Southwell IIs are sitting in fourth place and romped to a 64-0 whitewash success when home to North Hykenham with that of Paviors IIs, Mellish IIs and Nottinghamians all sat in the bottom five; Pavs IIs lost 34-3 away to Melbourne IIs and Nottinghamians were downed 39-12 at home to Sleaford.

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @NottinghamRugby Aniseko Sio in action for Nottingham.

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