Greene King IPA Championship Round 12
This season's Greene King IPA Championship play-off race is
proving to be the most competitive for years with just five points
separating the top five clubs heading into the New Year.
Bristol, who have played a game more than their rivals, lead the
way on 42 points, with victories achieved over Ealing and Moseley
during the festive period. Andy Robinson's men sit out the next
round of fixtures, while three of the four sides in the chasing
pack - London Welsh (second, 41 points), Leeds Carnegie (fourth,
38) and London Scottish (fifth, 37) - face potentially difficult
away trips in Round 12. Rotherham Titans (third, 38 points) are at
home for the second week running, with Cornish Pirates (just behind
in sixth, 34 points).
Scottish begin 2014 with a New Year's Day clash against Bedford
Blues at Goldington Road. The chances of the Blues maintaining
their proud play-off record look remote, as they are 20 points
adrift of the top four following a poor first half of the season.
They did, however, become the first side to topple London Welsh in
the Championship in their last home league outing: 28-26 on
November 30. Bedford won last season's corresponding fixture 55-20.
Scottish, meanwhile, have surged up the table on the back of a
five-game winning run.
A superb second-half performance earned Rotherham a bonus-point
win against Bedford in front of a bumper Boxing Day crowd. Cornish
Pirates are the next visitors to Clifton Lane in one of three
Saturday afternoon fixtures. Last season's corresponding game
finished in a 41-28 win for Titans - their first success over the
Pirates in eight attempts.
Welsh, who are one point off top spot, travel to St Peter to play
struggling Jersey in another 2pm kick-off. While the form book
suggests an away win, 11th-placed Jersey will no doubt be desperate
to restore some pride after slipping to a 28-18 loss to relegation
rivals Ealing Trailfinders in their last home league fixture.
Saturday's action concludes with Plymouth Albion v Leeds Carnegie,
kick off 3pm. In-form Carnegie have lost on their last two visits
to Brickfields: 25-20 (2011/12) and 32-31 (2012/13). In the four
matches since Leeds last won there - 17-6 on April 25, 2009 - the
sides have been separated by a margin of five points or less. Leeds
head to Devon on the back of four consecutive bonus-point wins in
all competitions, while Albion have not won in the league since
beating Ealing Trailfinders 20-5 on November 8.
Eleven points separate 10th-placed Nottingham Rugby from
bottom-of-the-table Ealing Trailfinders who do battle at Meadow
Lane in Sunday's solitary Championship fixture.
Round 12 fixtures
Saturday December 28
Bristol 29 Moseley 8
Wednesday January 1
Bedford Blues v London Scottish, KO 15:00
Saturday January 4
Jersey v London Welsh, KO 14:00
Rotherham Titans v Cornish Pirates, KO 14:00
Plymouth Albion v Leeds Carnegie, KO 15:00
Sunday January 5
Nottingham Rugby v Ealing Trailfinders, KO 15.00
23 Mar 2023
January lessons show danger of banana skin in SW London