Orrell face drop

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Orrell look doomed to League Two rugby next season despite staging a heroic fightback against their visitors Bristol at Edge Hall Road yesterday.

The Lancashire club, who parted company last week with their director of rugby Peter Williams, trailed 28-12 at half-time. But after the interval they scored 15 points without reply and Bristol scraped through 28-27. Rob Hitchmough scored two of Orrell's four tries and their other touchdowns came from Peter Anglesea and Paul Rees while Matthew McCarthy landed two conversions and a penalty. Bristol, who are themselves trying to avoid the relegation play-offs, picked up three tries before the break - two by Dave Tiueti and the other from Martin Corry. Paul Burke kicked their other points.

Moseley, apparently unaffected by the record loss of pounds 153,137 they incurred last season, dented Bedford's hopes of automatic promotion from League Two with an astonishing 40-34 victory at The Reddings in which both sides scored five tries. Just a week after upsetting Newcastle, Bedford were outsmarted by a rejuvenated Moseley who have exceeded 40 points in each of their last three games. Their decisive try came with 10 minutes to go from Dan Harris.

Richmond confirmed their place in League One next season with eight tries in an emphatic 58-29 success at Waterloo and Newcastle strengthened their claims to the second automatic promotion spot with a 49-17 home win over Coventry. That result lifts Newcastle above Coventry into third place on points difference and to within a point of Bedford on whom they have three games in hand.

Leeds passed 1,000 League Three points for the season during their 84- 19 victory at Clifton. Newbury's 22nd successive win of the campaign - 61-23 over Camberley - has earned them the Fourth Division South title.

Last season's Welsh champions Neath have slipped into the relegation zone as a result of Dunvant's 42-17 First Division victory over Caerphilly. Mark Thomas contributed 17 points to Dunvant's total. Shannon sealed their third successive Irish league title by six points with a 38-16 win at Instonians. An injury-time drop goal from Jonathan Wilkinson edged England home 18-17 against Wales in the under-18 international at Narberth.

The defending Super 12 champions Auckland beat Australian Capital Territory 41-29 yesterday and replaced their opponents at the top of the table.

Kitch Christie, South Africa's World Cup winning coach, has resgined as coach of Northern Transvaal due to ill health. John Williams, whom he replaced at the beginning of the season, has been reinstated in the role.