The Greene King IPA Championship: After a fortnight of British and Irish Cup distraction it's back

The Greene King IPA Championship: After a fortnight of British and Irish Cup distraction the league is back

By Richard Grainger

If Bristol Director of Rugby Andy Robinson was disappointed about his side’s second-half performance against Nottingham on Sunday, he will be even more frustrated by a careless breach of regulations leading to the deduction of one point.

Bristol 33, Nottingham 18

Shouting the odds: Andy Robinson talks to his charges

Shouting the odds: Andy Robinson talks to his charges

In front of a crowd of over 5,000 at the Memorial Stadium on Sunday, Bristol capitalised on weak Nottingham defence, and their failure to convert opportunities, with a brace of tries each from George Watkins and Tristan Roberts, and a try from Ben Mosses.

Bristol secured the bonus point by the interval but failed to press home their superiority over the Green and Whites, who did the double over their hosts last season.

“We have to kick on and be more ruthless,” said Robinson. He added: “Bristol do not want to be in the Championship next season, we aspire to play to a Premiership standard. That performance was not a Premiership performance, and that’s where we need to be.”

Bristol fell foul of the RFU’s Regulation 3.4(c) by having15 men on the pitch instead of 14 for nine minutes following a yellow card during their 45-27 win over Bedford earlier this month. The club is considering appealing the judgment.

Bedford Blues 31, Ealing Trailfinders 14

What a difference a win makes! Bedford, winless in the Greene King IPA Championship before Sunday, have jumped from the bottom of the pile to eighth place, thanks to a bonus point win over hapless Ealing.

However, Andrew Henderson and Morgan Thompson scored first-half tries for the visitors to give the Trailfinders a 12-14 interval lead at Goldington Road in front of the Sky Sport cameras and a full-house on Sunday.

But the Blues, equally desperate for a first GKIPA Championship win and to break a run of five televised defeats, hit back after the break with a brace of tries from James Pritchard and a Michael Le Bourgeois try to add to Ollie Dodge’s first half pair.

Jersey 18, Plymouth Albion 23

To lose one point may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness. Following the RFU’s recent disciplinary hearing, Chairman of Jersey Rugby Club, Bill Dempsey, said: “… we feel we had a constructive and fair hearing and will now look to move forward.”

Jersey RFC pleaded guilty to a breach of RFU Regulation 2.4, and in addition to being docked two valuable points, the club were fined £5,000.

Things got worse for the Channel Islanders when they went down 18-23 to Albion at St Peter on Saturday. Tom Brown’s 74th minute try was scant reward for wave after wave of attack while the visitors were reduced to 14 men, but ultimately Jersey had to settle for a losing bonus point.

Plymouth’s second Championship win lifts them into seventh slot.

London Scottish 23, Rotherham 24

A fine second half performance yielded a brace of tires from Titans’ hooker Tom Cruse and keeps the Yorkshire outfit in second place.

The Exiles head coach, James Buckland was generous in defeat, saying that  second-placed Rotherham are worthy of their position in the league: “They played with confidence, scored two good tries and were very physical.”

A season of lows so far: Moseley

Ups and downs so far in the Championship: Moseley RFC

Moseley 18, Leeds 27

Moseley’s miserable season continues with their fourth GKIPA Championship defeat, this time at the hands of Leeds, at Billesley Common, on Saturday.

Moseley were in the hunt trailing 11-15 at the turnaround, but Carnegie pulled away after the break with tries from David Doherty and Jonah Holmes adding to first half scores from Phil Nilsen and former Moseley man Glyn Hughes. This bonus point win keeps Leeds in fourth slot.

London Welsh 41, Cornish Pirates 6

Finally, division favourites London Welsh dispatched the Cornish Pirates with clinical precision to notch a five-try bonus point win at the Kassam Stadium in front of a meagre 1,200-strong crowd on Saturday night. The Pirates last outing at the Kassam was in the second leg of the 2011-12 Championship final, when they lost 29-20. This win keeps the Exiles three points clear at the top of the pile.