By Richard Grainger

A MERE 320 hardy souls braved atrocious conditions at the Athletic Ground on Saturday to watch London Scottish win their Championship basement battle against Moseley. The 28-13 victory mean Scottish have put some daylight between themselves and the bottom three clubs.

The Exiles have more to celebrate than their first victory in the last 5 games, they’ve secured the coaching services of ex-Leicester and London Irish hooker James Buckland and French legend Serge Betsen.

The hosts took an early lead when Gerard Mullen finished a move that began with a 50-metre break by Chevvy Pennycook, and when James Love converted and added two penalties they were in the driving seat. Ben Pienaar responded for Moseley leaving the scoreline 13-7 at the break.

Despite both sides notching tries in the second half, London Scottish held on to record their first win for Simon Amor’s new coaching setup.

Ten places may well separate Jersey and Newcastle but there was no evident gulf in class at a soggy St Peter’s on Saturday.

With points from Jimmy Gopperth and Jersey new boy Barry Davies, the table-toppers left themselves a lot to do in the second half.  And it must have been some team talk because the Falcons ran through tries from Ryan Shortland, James Hall and Alex Tait, playing his 100th game for Newcastle, securing their eighth bonus point from ten outings.

“Looking at what they have done at home this year, they are a quality side, and their scrummaging has been really good,” Head Coach Dean Richards told the Falcons’ website. “They played well against Leicester in a pre-season friendly, so to come away with a bonus-point is fantastic.”

The West Country derby at Brickfields was marred by both bad weather and bad temper, as the game spilled over into a two-minute thirty player brawl during the second half.

When it was all over, Plymouth prop Jack Andrew saw red, while his skipper, Sean-Michael Stephen and Bristol’s Mitch Eadie were each shown a yellow.

Albion Head Coach Nat Sauni was less than impressed with referee Mr Tempest’s analysis of the fracas, particularly as he claimed that it turned the game in Bristol’s favour.

However, Plymouth were outplayed for most of the match and can have few complaints as to the outcome.

Bristol scored two tries through George Watkins and Redford Pennycock, with Adrian Jarvis adding three penalties and a conversion. In reply, the hosts could only manage a Paul Roberts penalty and a late consolation try from Rhodri McAtee.

“It’s one game at a time, because we’re focusing on one goal at a time,” a delighted Liam Middleton told the Bristol website.  “We had a good performance with the dry ball against Jersey, running in six tries and we showed that we can play in contrasting conditions at Brickfields.”

At 32-6, Bedford Blues breezed past the Cornish Pirates on Friday night at Goldington Road, setting up and exciting fixture up North against a resurgent Leeds on Sunday.

Jake Sharp’s boot contributed 22 points and rammed home the Blues’ forward dominance, underlined by tries from Neil Cochrane and Brendan Burke.

Alex Codling watched his new charges go down 13-24 to Leeds at Clifton Lane on Saturday.

Despite only losing by two tries to one, the Titans were never really in contention, and trailed 6-21 at the interval.

Leeds, who have now won six times from ten outings, had the dominance of their pack and Joe Ford’s boot to thank for the victory.

Finally, Clive Griffiths was another new rugby director to watch his side struggle, as Doncaster were thrashed 52-7 by Nottingham at Meadow Lane on Sunday.

The Green and Whites scored four tries in each half to move them into second in the Championship table, above Bedford on points difference.

All this action, leaves the table like this after ten rounds of Championship rugby: http://clubs.rfu.com/Fixtures/MatchByDivision.aspx?DivID=161294976

Follow Richard Grainger on Twitter @maverickwriter

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