Local rugby: Battling Students hit back to boost survival chances
Loughborough Students edged a step closer to securing their National One status as they overturned a 15-3 deficit to beat rivals Tynedale 19-18.
Students started the day 12 points clear of the bottom three, but Macclesfield are only in the final relegation position because of a deduction.
Macclesfield's form is anything but that of a struggler as a 17-15 verdict at Richmond represented a fourth success on the trot.
Fourth-bottom Wharfedale also landed a crucial 22-8 win against Cinderford.
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Tynedale could have leapfrogged Students and dragged them back into a relegation scrap, so the pressure was on to deliver a result.
Loughborough duly delivered and moved seven points clear of their rivals while maintaining their cushion over Macclesfield.
Fly-half Stuart Hall kicked an early penalty for Students but Tynedale were 8-3 ahead after 23 minutes as Dave Cherry crossed and Matthew Outsen slotted a penalty.
Students hooker John Collister saw yellow and Tynedale took advantage as Ben Frankland scored their second try. Outsen converted to put the visitors in control.
Hall reduced the deficit with a second penalty before half-time and two more three-pointers brought them back to 15-12 down after 48 minutes.
Students piled on the pressure and that led to Frankland being sent to the sin-bin.
Tynedale survived that 10-minute period but fell behind as prop Tom Crozier crossed and Hall converted with 13 minutes to go.
George Cullen kicked a 71st-minute penalty to narrow the gap to a solitary point but Students held firm to take the spoils.
Leicester Lions knew they were in for a tough afternoon at National Two North leaders Stourbridge.
Their opponents had lost just two games all season and Lions had only a Jon Boden penalty to show for their efforts in a 41-3 setback.
Syston landed an impressive 8-7 win against Newport (Salop) to all but secure their place in National Three Midlands for another season.
Dave Torr scored and Warren Coles slotted the winning penalty.
Hinckley bounced back from a narrow derby defeat at Nuneaton to register a single-point victory. They beat Longton 19-18 at Leicester Road thanks to tries from Phil Brocken and Ben Ashfield, and penalties from Josh Smith (2) and Ryan Oakes.
The game of the day saw third-placed South Leicester host champions-elect Sutton Coldfield, and it was the visitors who won 28-6, despite two Mark Lord penalties.