Ffitch stars as Lough­bor­ough get cam­paign back on track

The Rugby Paper - - National League 3 Feature - ■ By JOE BYRNES

IT WAS the trav­ellers who reigned supreme this week as the BUCS big show rolled into town for Round 7.

Four sides came and con­quered en­emy ter­ri­tory as Hartpury, Lough­bor­ough, Ex­eter and Cardiff Met plun­dered on an ac­tion­packed Wed­nes­day.

Lough­bor­ough stopped the rot de­feat­ing his­toric ri­vals Durham 26-10. Tom Ffitch’s slinky try was the pick of the bunch as he man­gled mul­ti­ple Durham an­kles with hot steps to open pro­ceed­ings.

Durham, still catch­ing their breath, con­ceded swifty af­ter as Tom Bi­tirim touched down and by the time Alex Glashan crossed, The Palati­nate only had a Tom Cat­t­er­ick penalty to counter at half time with two Ffitch con­ver­sions mak­ing the score 19-3.

Ben Fowles gave the home side hope early in the sec­ond with Cat­t­er­ick con­vert­ing but Will Foster soon ex­tin­guished the op­ti­mism and with the con­ver­sion Durham were beaten 26-10.

Two of this sea­sons sur­prise pack­ages fought for supremacy in York­shire. Hav­ing pop­u­lated the bot­tom of the league last year Leeds Beck­ett and Cardiff Met have this sea­son shown their teeth.

Kick­ing ma­chine Tom Mor­gan picked up a try as did his as­so­ciates Luke North­more and Ben Wil­liams as Cardiff came back from 8-7 down at half time. Dan Leake, James El­liot and Tris­tan Lloyd tries sal­vaged a bonus point for Beck­ett but the spoils went to Dan Mil­ton’s men as they moved sec­ond, level on points with fal­low Northum­bria with a 18-24 win.

Bath felt the wrath of an Ex­eter scorned af­ter their shock loss the week be­fore in Leeds. The men in Green sav­aged The Broth­ers who had bro­ken their BUCS duck only five days prior.

Jack Rouse (2), James Strong James McRae (2), Felix Mad­di­son and Mike Haines aug­mented their sea­son try tal­lies with Ted Lan­dray on hand to slot six con­ver­sions. Jake Allen scored for some con­so­la­tion but it’s back to the draw­ing board for the The Blue and Gold.

Lady Bay hosted the bout of the win­less with the home side left scratch­ing. Cham­pi­onship im­pres­sors Hartpury have floun­dered thus far in their BUCS ti­tle de­fence but they fi­nally found their form trump­ing the new boys 52-12.

Max Craven and Ce­cil McCarthy tries kept the home side in with a sniff but Hartpury, buoyed by their Satur­day out­fit’s last gasp win against London Scot­tish, ran in eight tries in a per­for­mance that they will hope sig­nals a change in for­tunes and si­lences the doubters in their de­fence of the BUCS booty.

Northum­bria still sit top of the pile de­spite hav­ing what is prob­a­bly an un­wel­come week off. Their ir­re­sistible mo­men­tum will be cranked into gear once more next week in a North East derby ver­sus Durham at Kingston Park.

The BUCS sea­son is now a third of the way in and no one would have pre­dicted the ta­ble. Last year’s whip­ping boys Beck­ett have been gal­vanised and it is hard to pick a win­ner. There is a re­fresh­ing ad­ven­ture in each team’s play and thus far, the sides that try to play, pros­per.

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