Close at top in promotion fight

Caldy in action against Preston. Picture: Paul Heaps

Caldy in action against Preston. Picture: Paul Heaps

First published in Rugby by

THE North One West League title and with it automatic promotion will be decided this Saturday when Wirral and Birkenhead Park play their last scheduled matches.

Both won last Saturday and secured bonus points so Wirral currently have a slender one point advantage.

Wirral face an awkward match at Kendal where a bonus point success will ensure top spot. It will also be difficult for Park away to much improved Warrington.

The runners-up in the division will face a play-off for promotion the Saturday after Easter.

Wirral destroyed Carlisle 47-3 at Clatterbridge with the extra point assured before half-time.

Birkenhead gained an excellent 28-7 victory at Vale of Lune. Jack Ashcroft and Gavin Scott secured first-half touch downs both converted by Dave Hall but Vale stayed in touch with a try and conversion by leading league scorer Nick Royle.

Park weathered home pressure after the break before Scott kicked through for his second try goaled by Hall. Matt Ibbotson then crossed for the fourth touchdown which secured the bonus point. Hall added the extras.

The visitors then saw out time as Vale saw red when Royle was dismissed in the last quarter.

It was tense at Paton Field as Caldy just squeezed home 22-21 against Preston Grasshoppers in National Two North.

Hooker Neil Dowridge was the star man with two second quarter touchdowns before completing his hat-trick of tries after the break.

Richard Vasey added two conversions and also a penalty.

Hoppers led 16-15 at the interval in a very close affair thanks to two tries and two penalties.

Their third try put them a point behind but the conversion which would have given them the lead failed and a late penalty opportunity which would have swung the balance fell short.

New Brighton took an entertaining clash against West Park in South Lancashire / Cheshire One by a 34-27 margin to keep their unbeaten home record at Hartsfield.

They top the table by a massive 19 points.

The visitors were actually ahead 13-10 at the break and later went on to assure themselves of two losing bonus points.

The Blues gained five touch downs in all via Sean Ellis, Ian Murray, Joe Cardus, Stuart Gratton and Brett Williams.

Ned Brooks added two conversions whilst Brett Thompson struck with one conversion and a penalty.

West Park managed four touch downs plus two conversions and one penalty. Hoylake saw off Manchester 25-16 but Anselmians fell 13-27 at Glossop.

In Division Two Port Sunlight finished 45-20 to the good against Isle of Man visitors Ramsey but Wallasey lost for the 25th time 0- 28 at Moore.

Prenton edged the verdict at Ellesmere Port 20-19 in Division Three and top the table by three points. Oldershaw finished 32-17 to the good against visiting Trentham.

Caldy are away to Sheffield Tigers this coming Saturday.

There is an Anselmians v New Brighton derby at Malone Field whilst Hoylake go to high riding Nantwich.

Other fixtures include Vagabonds v Port Sunlight, Marple v Wallasey, Capenhurst v Oldershaw, Oxton Parkonians v Knutsford, Prenton v Helsby and Trentham v Ellesmere Port.

Meanwhile Winnington Park will host three Cheshire competition finals on Easter Saturday, April 19.

Oxton Parkonians will meet Southern Nomads, Isle of Man in the last stage of the Plate with a 12.15pm kick-off.

The Bowl final between Oswestry and Bowdon follows at 2.15pm and then New Brighton take on Altrincham Kersal to decide the Vase with the kick-off at 4.15pm.

The Cheshire Cup final involving Caldy and Sale has been arranged for Tuesday, April 29, at Sandbach. The kick-off will be at 7.30pm.

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