13 December 2022

On a weekend where Irish was reintroduced to the Heineken Champions Cup for the first time in a decade, league action still continued for the second and third tiers of English rugby.

Seven young Exiles were on their travels away from Sunbury for some loan action across the Championship and National League 1, with tries, jackals and tackles aplenty.

In the Championship, backs duo Alex Harmes (winger) and Tom Hitchcock (centre) travelled to Richmond in back-to-back games for Paul Turner’s Ampthill first XV.

On the other side of the field saw another Exile, hooker Joe Vajner, in his maiden run-out for Richmond at the Richmond Athletic Ground.

With both sides in the bottom half of the division, Harmes and Hitchcock played out 80 minutes of the Bedfordshire outfit’s first draw of the campaign, wrapping up 21-all.

Vajner crossed the whitewash not one, but twice from catch and drive moves for the south-west Londoners in the opening half, playing out the first three quarters in a busy outing.

Third-year winger Harmes held up strongly in defence as well as bagging his second try in as many weeks, striking on the hour on the end of a grubber kick with his Irish Clubmate too robust in his carrying.

A trio of Academy produce in Ben Atkins (back-row), Jack Walsh (centre) and Afolabi Fasogbon (prop) played for Esher in their National League 1 Round 13 match against Darlington Mowden Park.

A standout full 80 for Ben Atkins saw him register two try assists at Molesey Road, including one for Jack Walsh, with his effort in defence also seeing him win a jackal turnover for his loan Club.

On top of his try, Walsh made his presence known in attack with penetrative runs throughout the encounter, as Fasogbon made a 30-minute cameo off the bench.

The front-row forward stunted the advance of Darlington in the latter stages of the encounter with excellent effort in defence, as kicker Sam Morley’s late penalty saw Esher to an 18-17 victory, the third of the campaign.

Second year out-half Monty Bradbury played out the final quarter of action for Rosslyn Park when they travelled to Sale FC, converting Charles Piper’s effort, but Park was to remain in fourth place after a 24-15 defeat in Manchester.

Bradbury’s loan Club are set to take on Esher this weekend in the local derby at Priory Lane.

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