The next round of Greene King IPA Championship fixtures begins
with what appears to be a 'must-win' game for Ealing Trailfinders
against Bedford Blues at Vallis Way on Friday night.
Bottom-of-the table Ealing have yet to pick up a single point on
home soil, Leeds Carnegie being the latest side to come away from a
trip to west London with the spoils of victory following Saturday's
crushing 46-11 win. Last season's National One champions have found
try-scoring hard to come by at home, too, mustering just seven
scores compared to 14 on the road.
The good news for Ealing is that Bedford Blues have not travelled
well this term, Mike Rayer's men winning just once in eight games
away from Goldington Road and conceding 237 points in the process -
the second highest total in the league behind Friday night's
Blues had to come from behind to beat Ealing when the sides met on
October 27, two tries from Ollie Dodge helping them to a 31-14
Rotherham's position at the top of the Championship table was
short-lived after they were well beaten by London Welsh at the
Kassam Stadium on Sunday. The Exiles leapfrogged the Titans into
first place as a result of the 47-16 win, with Leeds second and
Rotherham now third going into Saturday's fixture against London
To stay in play-off contention fifth-placed Scottish realistically
need to win at Clifton Lane for the first time in two years. The
Titans did the double over Scottish last season, although both were
closely-fought affairs with the Exiles picking up a losing bonus
point on each occasion. This season's clash at the Athletic Ground
could not have been closer either, the Titans achieving the
narrowest of victories (24-23) thanks, in part, to a brace of tries
from hooker Tom Cruse.
Last weekend's 38-27 defeat to London Scottish means Plymouth have
still to achieve back-to-back wins this season. But Albion, having
got their Brickfields account up and running in tremendous style
against London Welsh a fortnight ago, will fancy their chances of
making it two home wins on the spin against 11th-placed Jersey.
Equally, Jersey will be buoyed by Saturday's narrow win at home to
Nottingham - their first win in seven attempts in the league. This
will be the third time the sides have met this season, Plymouth
having won both previous encounters despite trailing at half-time.
Albion scored four tries in the final 25 minutes to win 41-27 on
the opening day of the season at Sandy Park and followed it up with
a 23-18 win at St Peter.
Sunday's triple bill could be significant in terms of the
standings at the top end of the table as London Welsh, Leeds
Carnegie and fourth-placed Bristol are all in action. Carnegie
would appear to have the easier of the tasks, on paper at least, as
they are at home to Moseley, while Bristol and Welsh must travel to
Nottingham and Cornish Pirates respectively - the latter game being
shown live on Sky Sports. Leeds are on a 12-game winning streak in
the league against Moseley, who they beat 27-18 at Billesley Common
back in October.
Of the 15 matches played since Bristol were demoted to this level
four years ago, Bristol have won nine to Nottingham's five and
there has been one draw. Bristol scored five tries to win 33-18
when the sides met at the Memorial Stadium in Round 5.
London Welsh enjoyed a comfortable 41-6 success when they last
played Pirates at home. First half tries from Seb Jewell and Carl
Kirwan saw the home side take a commanding 20-6 lead into
half-time, with Rob Lewis' 47th minute try all but ending the game
as a contest. Welsh wrapped up the bonus point through Andy
Titterrell with Tom May's intercept try adding the icing eight
minutes from time. All Pirates could muster in reply was two Kieran
Round 16 fixtures
Friday February 14
Ealing Trailfinders v Bedford Blues, KO 19:45
Saturday February 15
Rotherham v London Scottish, KO 14:00
Plymouth Albion v Jersey, KO 15:00
Sunday February 16
Leeds Carnegie v Moseley, KO 15:00
Nottingham Rugby v Bristol Rugby, KO 15:00
Cornish Pirates v London Welsh, KO 15:45 (Live on Sky Sports
Why not come a chillout in the supporters marquee before the game, A fully stocked bar and food is available, seated and standing tables, on a first come first served basis and a great place to meet the Reds supporters.