Ionians seek to beat drop as derby defeat costs Harrogate

Hull Ionians' fly-half Callum Irvine (Picture: Scott Merrylees).
Hull Ionians' fly-half Callum Irvine (Picture: Scott Merrylees).
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Hull Ionians ensured their battle for National League One survival will go down to the final week of the season after a 46-33 victory against Old Albanians.

Fly-half Callum Irvine had a second-minute try converted by Isaac Green but Albanians hit back through Harry Bate before Green helped himself to 10 points in the space of two minutes with a try, conversion and a penalty for a 17-7 lead.

Irvine then kicked a drop goal before the break and went over for his second try of the afternoon two minutes after the restart, again converted by Green to give the hosts a 27-14 advantage.

Lewis Minikin crossed for Ionians to secure the important bonus point, and after two scores in quick succession from the visitors, Irvine completed his hat-trick with eight minutes to play before Tom Cotterill completed the scoring.

Ionians will need a bonus-point win at Darlington Mowden Park and hope Cambridge come away empty-handed from their match at second-placed Plymouth Albion in order to survive.

The relegation battle will also go down to the wire in National Two North, where Otley claimed the spoils in the Yorkshire derby with a 35-15 win at Harrogate.

The sides traded early converted tries, before scores from Tom Hodson and Jason Moss raced Otley into at 21-7 lead with the aid of two more conversions from Jack Blakeney-Edwards.

Harrogate rallied either side of the break, Sam Fox kicking a penalty and Ben Dixon scoring a try to reduce the arrears to six points.

However, a converted penalty try and a score from Tom O’Donnell saw Otley claim maximum points, and condemn Harrogate to a place in the bottom three with just one fixture remaining.

Harrogate’s loss is Sheffield Tigers’ gain, after they secured a crucial bonus-point victory at home to South Leicester to move out of the bottom three by a single point.

A bonus-point victory on Saturday at Luctonians will see Tigers safe in the division whilst sending Harrogate down.

Wharfedale lost 20-19 against already promoted Caldy, James Tincknell, Jamie Guy and Joe Altham the Greens’ try-scorers.

Hull just missed out on a play-off place in National Three North, but finished their campaign with a 26-10 victory over Kendal – their 20th victory of the campaign.

Tries from Steve Hihetah (2), Joe Stafford and captain Tom Price secured the bonus point with three conversions for Tomasi Tanumi.

A hat-trick from winger Iain Sim helped Morley to a 71-24 win at relegated Stockport as they finished five places off the bottom.

Winger Ollie Hutson scored two tries and Mark Chester kicked nine conversions and a penalty.

Doncaster Phoenix secured their survival with a 29-14 win at Waterloo with tries coming from winger James Wright (2), flanker Jason Robinson, scrum-half James Thompson.

Ilkley finished above Morley despite losing 25-19 at Billingham in their final match of the season.

Cleckheaton finished two places off the bottom after they were beaten 27-10 at Lymm.

Sheffield face a promotion play-off against Rossendale this week if they are to gain promotion from National Three Midlands.

Sheffield’s tries in a 24-3 home win against Bridgnorth at Abbeydale came from scrum-half Steve Depledge (2), winger Owen Smith and centre Rupert Broadley.

Alisdair McLaren scored a hat-trick of tries and Sam Furbank a brace as Driffield defeated Morpeth 56-12 in North One East, while champions Pocklington were 39-21 winners at Malton and Norton.

West Leeds defeated North Ribblesdale 41-17 to finish second and claim a play-off place in Yorkshire Division One.

They will play South Shields Westoe, who finished second in Durham & Northumberland Division One, for a place in North One East next season.

Wharfedale's Tom Barrett. PIC: Scott Merrylees

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