Ionians get lift-off after forwards help them rally to victory
HULL IONIANS picked up their first win of the season at the sixth time of asking with a 4328 home triumph over Esher in National One.
Ionians started the day at the bottom of the table and things showed no signs of improving as they trailed 21-0 midway through the first half.
It was the forwards that brought the hosts to life, prop Richard Stout, hooker Alistair Thompson and back-row James Sanderson all going over with Isaac Green adding the extras to send the sides to the dressing rooms all-square.
The good work was undone 10 minutes after the restart, though, Esher No 8 Alistair Bone scoring a converted try to restore the visitors’ lead.
Ionians rallied once more, Stout scoring his second try of the afternoon to secure the bonus point just three minutes later with Green again converting, before the kicker gave the hosts their first lead of the afternoon with a penalty.
Winger Samuel Wilson and replacement John Allott both crossed in the last five minutes to make the scoreline look convincing, the victory moving Ionians off the foot of the table.
Huddersfield claimed maximum points after an impressive 32-15 home victory over Luctonians in National Two North.
The hosts started the day in 13th place but dominated the first 40 minutes, full-back Lewis Workman, winger Rian Hamilton and back-row Adam Malthouse all crossed, with fly-half Harry Davey kicking two conversions and a penalty for a 22-3 lead.
Luctonians fought back with two tries of their own after the interval, but Workman scored his second of the afternoon, with Davey converting, before the flyhalf wrapped up the scoring with a drop goal as Huddersfield move to 10th in the table.
Wharfedale piled on the pressure late in their game at Chester but had to settle for a losing bonus point, going down 10-3.
Sheffield remain winless and bottom of the table, although a try with the last play of the game did see them earn their fifth bonus point of the season with a 35-26 loss at South Leicester.
Otley were beaten at Leicester Lions, whilst Sheffield Tigers’ struggles continued after a 2910 home defeat to unbeaten Tynedale.
Sandal caused an upset in the North Premier league, beating Yorkshire rivals Ilkley 37-14 at home.
Sandal were without a win after five games and Ilkley were third with four wins but the tables were turned as first-half tries from Steve Nolson and James Ellar, along with two conversions and a penalty from Greg Wood, saw them lead 17-7 at the break.
The visitors reduced the arrears to 17-14 shortly after the restart but tries from Nolson and Tom Baxter helped Sandal secure the win.
Romanian international winger Stephen Hihetah was the hat-trick hero for Hull as they produced a fine display against struggling Morley in a 47-0 win away from home.
The visitors were 21- 0 up at the break and continued to dominate in the second half.
Also in North Premier, Harrogate took a fine 25- 8 win against Kendal.
There were standout performances from Dale Brakewell and captain Sam Neave as West Leeds continued to impress in North One East, running out 52- 21 winners at home to Percy Park.
Neave scored a hat- trick whilst Brakewell racked up 22 points with a try, penalty and conversions on all seven of the host’s tries in the emphatic win.
Behind 21- 0 at half- time, Pocklington battled back after the break to secure a bonus point but still lost out 38- 29 to Rossendale.
Pocklington’s tries came from No 8 George Wagstaff, full- back Jed Jackson and centres Billy Hardy and James Flint with fly- half Dan Elliot kicking a penalty and three conversions.
ON TARGET: Greg Wood kicked two conversions and a penalty as Sandal turned the tables on Ilkley in North Premier.