GK IPA Championship preview - Round 22

20/04/2016

Please click here to download stats from round 21

With one week to go there is very little left to decide in the Greene King IPA Championship's regular season but if last week's thrills and spills are anything to go by, round 22 will go out with a bang.

A mammoth 331 points were scored across the six games – averaging out at more than 55 per match –  and one clash to keep an eye in the final round is Ealing Trailfinders' home fixture with Rotherham Titans.

Ealing's 30-24 win over Jersey last time out ensured that the Londoners will not finish bottom of the table, and there may be something of a party atmosphere in their final match of the campaign.

Neither Rotherham nor Ealing can improve on their league position – they will end tenth and 11th respectively – but this could be a chance to put a marker down for next season.

With that defeat last week Jersey's own hopes of a top-four finish were snuffed out, but they will aim to finish the best of the rest at home to third-place Yorkshire Carnegie.

Carnegie's back division are on fire as Joel Hodgson, Oli Goss, Fred Burdon and Max Wright all crossed in the bonus-point 37-27 victory against Nottingham.

As for Doncaster Knights, they take on a London Welsh side still buoyant from their British & Irish Cup success earlier this month.

The Exiles were arguably involved in the Championship's most exciting clash last weekend, as Olly Barkley's last-gasp conversion of Kieran Murphy's try snatched a 38-38 draw at Cornish Pirates.

Their recent form has marked a turnaround on the scoring front – they hold the third-least amount of points scored in the Championship this season with 418 – while only Bristol outdo Yorkshire Carnegie (621). 

Elsewhere, runaway leaders Bristol will warm up against their play-off opponents, fourth-place Bedford Blues, at Goldington Road.

The Blues have given Bristol trouble this year, having beaten them at Ashton Gate 29-23 all the way back in September.

And more often than not Bedford manage to entertain the punters at Goldington Road, racking up scores of 54, 33 and 64 points in three of their last four home fixtures in the Championship.

Nottingham will need to hold off the challenge of Cornish Pirates if they are to finish the season seventh – though No.8 Paul Grant will be looking to make sure he remains atop the try-scoring standings.

Grant has rumbled over 19 times in the Championship this season and leads Knights back-rower Latu Makaafi by two efforts heading into the final round.

And Moseley will be bidding to round off their stay in the Championship on a high note when they host London Scottish.

They came so close to emerging with victory at Ashton Gate last week but Callum Sheedy's last-minute penalty condemned Moseley to bottom place.

As for London Scottish, they halted a four-game losing streak in the league by edging a tight one 22-17 at Rotherham Titans in Round 21.
 
Saturday April 23
Nottingham Rugby v Cornish Pirates, kick-off 2.30pm
Bedford Blues v Bristol Rugby, kick-off 3pm
Ealing Trailfinders v Rotherham Titans, kick-off 3pm
Jersey v Yorkshire Carnegie, kick-off 3pm
London Welsh v Doncaster Knights, kick-off 3pm
Moseley v London Scottish, kick-off 3pm

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