GK IPA Championship preview - Round 210/09/2015
Newly-relegated London Welsh got off to a winning start in last weekend's round one encounter as Guy Armitage - who faced brother Bevon in the opposition - put three tries on Doncaster Knights at Castle Park.
Welsh, who picked up just one league point in the Premiership last season, won a 35-33 thriller against Doncaster Knights to get the year off on the front foot. They next face fellow Premiership contenders Bristol Rugby at Old Deer Park, live on Sky Sports HD.
The Exiles and Bristol last met in the 2013-14 play-off final when Welsh came out on top with a 48-28 aggregate across the two legs.
Unlike Welsh, Bristol's opening weekend didn't go to plan as the west country side were stunned by Bedford Blues on home soil, beaten 29-23.
Two tries from England Under-20 winger George Perkins helped the visitors to a healthy 22-6 lead at the break and despite a strong second-half comeback to narrow the margin, it was the Blues who left Ashton Gate with five points.
Bedford, meanwhile, are out to build on that opening-weekend triumph in Bristol when they host Moseley on Saturday.
The visitors however produced a scalp of their own, opening the new Greene King IPA Championship season last Friday night with a 23-19 win at London Scottish.
Scottish scored three tries to their visitors' one but the boot of fly-half Glyn Hughes got them through as he notched up six penalties.
His opposite number this weekend also enjoyed a bright showing last time out, Jake Sharp scoring a try and adding nine points between the sticks.
Last weekend was not short of nail-biting encounters and Greene King IPA Championship newcomers Ealing Trailfinders were involved in one of their own.
The newly-promoted side left Rotherham Titans with an agonising 24-23 defeat but that performance will see them welcome London Scottish on Saturday in good spirits.
The Trailfinders bounced back to the second tier at the first time of asking last season, having been relegated by a single point two years ago.
And they were just a minute away from victory on Sunday before Titans fly half Tom Barrett, who had earlier missed 11 points off the boot, found his range to land a penalty from 48 metres and hand his side the win.
Scottish, however, did get the better of Ealing both times they met that season – 36-10 away from home and 42-13 in the return fixture.
Yorkshire Carnegie were the highest-scoring side last weekend, running in five tries to beat Jersey 39-22, and next up they travel to Rotherham Titans.
They had been trailing 22-13 at half-time as Jersey trio Jack Moates, James Freeman and Nick Haining all opened their try-scoring accounts for the season.
But Yorkshire hit back with 26 unanswered second-half points to seal victory – Chris Walker (2), Mike Myerscough and Tom Ryder all crossing the whitewash.
The Titans finished two places and seven points better off than their visitors last season and both sides will be eager to lay down an early-season marker of their play-off credentials.
Doncaster Knights travel to Nottingham after running London Welsh close, while their hosts suffered an opening-day defeat at Cornish Pirates.
Guy Armitage may have caught the headlines for the Exiles but Doncaster came within a Dougie Flockhart conversion of snatching a draw following Alex Shaw's late try, before the visitors held on despite finishing the game with 14 men.
The Green & Whites came out marginally on top the last time these two sides met – 28-25 in Doncaster – having already won the reverse fixture 24-3 last season.
And Cornish Pirates will be seeking to make it back-to-back back wins when they visit a Jersey side reeling from their defeat to Carnegie.
The Pirates ended last season with three straight defeats to finish eighth, just three points behind Jersey after they beat Moseley 40-21 on the final weekend.
But they will be buoyed by their opening 18-14 win over Nottingham last Sunday, with two tries in four minutes from Rob Elloway and Tom Hendrickson midway through the second period doing the damage.
Nottingham also had two players cross in Pila Iongi and Viliami Hakalo but eight points from the boot of Cornish Pirates' Kieran Hallett handed them their first opening-day victory in three seasons.
Round 2 fixtures (September 12-13)
Saturday September 12th
Bedford Blues v Moseley, KO 15:00
Ealing Trailfinders v London Scottish, KO 15:00
Jersey v Cornish Pirates, KO 15:00
Saturday September 13th
Rotherham Titans v Yorkshire Carnegie, KO 14:00
Nottingham Rugby v Doncaster Knights, KO 15:00
London Welsh v Bristol Rugby, KO 15:15 (Live on Sky Sports HD)