Strong performances from three academy loan teams keeps them in contention for a promotion place half way through the season...
National League 1
Esher have now won their 13th game keeping them at the top of the table but only by five points. A freezing cold day didn't help rise the spirits of the travellers and Blaydon put themselves ahead with four penalties to Esher's two to lead 12-6 at the interval.
A team talk led Esher to come out and add 3 more points straight away to close the gap, 12-9.
Blaydon's Director of Rugby had made a late fitness test and was making his return to the team, made a jinxing break to offload to their prop forward who thundered over the line for the first try of the match. 17-9.
Esher weren't going to let their top position falter and started piling on the pressure starting with another Penalty. Esher's composure led them back into the game and Harlequins' academy player Chris York was sent over the line for a converted try. It was Chris York's academy team mate Sam Smith that put the nail in the coffin for Blaydon as he shot over the line twice to seal the game 17-29.
National League 2 South
Ealing were slow to start this game, but as many a good coach will say, it's not how you start, it's how you finish and finish well is what Ealing did.
Clifton came out and pulled a direct move from the training ground to send them over and convert the extras. A penalty was given for collapsing the maul and made it 0-8. It was only in the seventh minute that Ealing responded and were sent over the Clifton line and added the extras. Two more tries for Ealing and a penalty to Clifton led them into half time 17-11.
The second half saw Clifton slip away from any advantage they had when the cold weather set in, multiplying their mistakes, letting Ealing take control.
Four tries in this half gave Ealing a well deserved bonus point and keeps them in contention for a top spot in the league. Ealing played with swift pace and moved the ball from left to right, dominating the game and eventually running away with it. 36-11 at the final whistle.
Rosslyn Park 38
Rosslyn Park continued their domination of this league with a win over Southend. Two tries each for James Strong and Rob Jewell eased them into a bonus point win.
Park started off the stronger with a try, only to be cancelled out by a Southend penalty, but Park remained in the lead by adding another two tries to the tally. Southend came back with some nice skill when they broke through the line and used a nice chip over the defence to touch down over Parks' line. Jewell guaranteed a bonus point before the half ended by exploiting Southend's weak tackling and sailing over the line.
The second half saw Strong and Jewell add a try each as well as Southend scoring a consolation try.
The win was a determined effort and a chance to show how serious they are for a promotion place. 38-15 at the final whistle.
Harlequins fan Ed Atkin won the Etihad Airways 'Up and Under' competition at the Northampton Saints game. As a result, he and a friend have won a holiday to Abu Dhabi courtesy of Etihad Airways and the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.