Barking head into 2011 in pole position to win a second successive promotion. The Essex outfit, who overcame financial worries to win National Two South last season, hold a seven- point lead over nearest challengers, London Scottish. Alex Codling’s men, though, start the New Year with a couple of difficult away fixtures against Cambridge and Macclesfield, the third and fourth- placed sides in National One.

At the other end of the table, Redruth were good value for a 26-0 home win over Launceston in the only encounter to survive the arctic conditions. Official Nick Williams did a commendable job stepping in at short notice for Darren Gamage who was unable to fulfil his appointment after being caught up in the travel chaos affecting most parts of Britain.

It was the Reds’ first Cornish derby for more than two years and heaps further misery on struggling Launceston. In a messy game at the Rec, the Reds ran in two first- half tries – Jack Nowell and Steve Wood the scorers. Launceston threatened a comeback in the second- half but failed to convert their pressure into points. Redruth kept pressing and were rewarded with a late Mark Bright try to seal the win that puts them 13 points clear of Launceston in the relegation battle.

Launceston remain bottom- of- the- table with just seven points, 15 adrift of safety. The Reds’ victory, watched by a bumper crowd of 1,627, moved them up to third- from- bottom on 20 points, leapfrogging Cinderford who have 18.