By Richard Grainger
After Week Three, eight clubs are sandwiched between the two unbeaten sides and the two still looking for their first win in the Greene King IPA Championship.
Few would have predicted that last year’s finalists — who pushed the Falcons all the way in the first leg at Goldington Road in May — would be propping up the division with the new boys from Ealing after three outings.
Bedford Blues 28, Leeds Carnegie 29
Despite out-scoring Leeds four tries to two, a brace of bonus points was all the Blues had to show from Leeds’ visit to Goldington Road on Saturday. Carnegie, who have now won at Bedford on three consecutive visits, had a dominant scrum and referee Mr Steve Lee’s whistle to thank,which allowed Alex Lozowski to kick 19 points for the visitors.
London Welsh 40, Plymouth Albion 9
The Exiles’ comfortable win over Albion was also based on forward dominance. Although the visitors only trailed 16-9 after a drab first period, a meagre crowd of under one thousand at the Kassam Stadium were treated to a second half demolition job which led to tries from Daniel Browns, Ollie Stedman and a penalty try, to add to Mike Denbee’s superb first half score.
Plymouth had no answer to the Exiles’ forward might, but could have done without having Sean-Michael Stephan and Ien Ascroft-Leigh spending ten minutes together in the bin. Albion left Oxfordshire with only three Dan Mugford penalties to show for their efforts.
Moseley 21, Rotherham 47
Rotherham, who have notched a maximum 15 points from three games, despatched Moseley with ease in a five-try romp at Billesley Common on Saturday. Head Coach Kevin Maggs’ men had no answer to the power and pace of the Yorkshiremen who lead the division, a point ahead of London Welsh.
Juan Pablo Socino, the 24 year-old Buenos Aires-born centre, slotted 22 points, and is the league’s leading points scorer with 78.
Gordon Ross trails Socino on 54 points, and it will be a fascinating shoot-out when Rotherham host London Welsh next Saturday afternoon.
Ealing 17, Cornish Pirates 31
Vallis Way was treated to a first taste of Championship Rugby on Saturday when Ealing turned in a much improved performance from their previous two outings on the road.
But the Pirates got their season back on track with a five-try win which leaves them in fourth place in the division.
Despite a committed performance which led to tries from Ed Siggery and Tom Parker, Trailfinders have yet to record a point in the league, but will take heart from being on level terms with the Cornishmen until shortly before the interval.
London Scottish 27, Nottingham 6
21 year-old former Harlequins winger Miles Mantella scored a second half hat-trick to put some distance between the Exiles and Nottingham, who were locked 3-3 at the turn around.
Martin Haag’s men fell apart in the second period at the Athletic Ground on Saturday, but Mantella’s spectacular finishing act in the final quarter came too late to net him the sponsor’s man-of-the-match award, which went to Exiles’ inspirational fly-half Lee Millar.
Jersey 17, Bristol 26
Three tries in 16 minutes was enough to breach the fortress mentality at St. Peter, and emphasise the gulf between promotion hopefuls and division strugglers.
“To get points on the board early and to score three tries was really pleasing,” Bristol Director of Rugby Andy Robinson told bristolrugby.co.uk.
“The movement of the ball and shape we had was very good. We took our chances on Saturday and that shows how quickly the guys are learning.”
Robinson’s men secured the bonus-point two minutes into the second period when Ryan Edwards touched down.
Jersey fought back in the final quarter and considered themselves unlucky not to finish with a losing bonus point.