SINKING feelings afflicting London First Division clubs could not be blamed solely on muddy Courage League pitches. While Saracens' defeat by Wasps leaves them almost beyond recall at the bottom of the First Division, the trio of Harlequins and the Scottish and Irish exiles were sucked closer to the relegation morass by defeats by clubs who started yesterday below them . But conditions played a part: - all three victors, West Hartlepool, Orrell and Gloucester - rely heavily on powerful packs.
SCOTTISH dropped into the relegation places when West Hartlepool prop Paul Whitelock drove over in injury time, and Stabler's conversion completed a 15-10 win for the reviving north- east club whose survival hopes have risen dramatically with two consecutive away wins after losing their first five. David Cooke scored their earlier try as they hit back from a 10-3 half-time deficit.
GLOUCESTER, West's previous victims, had a happier day away to Irish, winning 18-6 with the help of a controversial penalty try awarded early in the second half by new International panel referee David Matthews.
QUINS are precariously placed after running out of steam at Orrell. They led 16-5 at the interval, but fell to second-half tries by Cleary and Hamer - and perhaps should not have been too surprised at the outcome. Six points is the largest margin in five previous league meetings and Orrell - who move out of the relegation places - had won four of them.
HISTORY also predicted the day's other Lazarus act, by Wakefield away to Newcastle Gosforth. The Yorkshire club scored 20 points in the last quarter after trailing 17-0, ending Gosforth's 100 per cent record in the Second Division. Wing Jon Sleightholme, scorer of one try and victim of the high tackle that led to a penalty try, and kicker Rob Liley, with both conversions and two penalties, did the damage as Wakefield won for the fourth time running at Great North Road.
MAIN beneficiaries of Gosforth's collapse were Waterloo who went to the top of the Second Division by beating Bedford 28-8 with tries from Saverimutto, Fraser and Handley plus 13 points from the boot of Grayson. Nottingham went second by beating struggling Fylde 19-8. Exeter took over Third Division leadership in the clash of the unbeaten records, ending Havant's run 21-13.
NOT SO unlucky 13 for Dunvant, who took their record Heineken League winning run to that number by disposing of troubled Glamorgan Wanderers 17-3. So far untroubled by anything the Second Division has been able to throw at them, they need six wins from nine games to ensure promotion.Reuse content