Rugby Union: Sandal promoted after a tense play-off victory

Sandal's Mark Pease.
Sandal's Mark Pease.
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Sandal stormed into National Two North with a tense 20-10 play-off win over Midland rivals Hinckley.

With so much at stake there was bound to be some edge to the match and part of Sandal’s success was that they kept their discipline better than their opponents who picked up a string of yellow cards and finally a straight red in the closing stages.

Mark Pease landed an early penalty to settle Sandal nerves but it was the visitors who scored the first try following a line-out after Pease had been sin-binned.

James Ellar landed a long kick in Pease’s absence but on his return he kicked a third to see Sandal turn round 9-5 in front.

Pease was again on target early in the second half and Joe Allott opened up a 12-point lead for Sandal when he sprinted home for a brilliant try.

Hinckley managed to pull back a try with five minutes to go but Pease again calmed any nerves landing a final penalty to set celebrations going.

Birmingham Solihull came to Otley needing at least five points if they were to have any chance of surviving the drop from National Two North and even though they managed it with a 33-15 win, results elsewhere meant they still went down.

Stephen Depledge kicked Otley into an early lead but the visitors were more hungry on the day and ran in two converted tries to turn round at the break 14-3 in front.

They extended that with a try early in the second half before Otley hit back, Jack Mackie going over and Depledge landing the conversion.

With Otley down to 14 men after a yellow card, the visitors grabbed their bonus point with a fourth try and then added a fifth try to lead 33-10 before replacement Chris Gennell had the last word for Otley.

Elsewhere in the division, Harrogate showed tremendous spirit to battle back from 21-7 down at half-time to defeat hosts Stourbridge 29-28.

After an even opening 20 minutes, the hosts took the lead through flanker Tatenda Mukarati, converted by Gary Dipple.

Gate responded through James Morland’s try, after good work by Callum Irvine, who also slotted the conversion.

Stourbridge’s powerful flanker, Mukarati, then created a converted try for Nathan Bressington before helping himself to a second try before the half-time break.

But second-half tries by Harrogate trio Lewis Minikin, Luke Edwards and Sam Bottomley, with Irvine kicking two goals and a penalty, put the visitors in control before Stefan Shillingford scored a consolation try for the hosts.