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Home > News > Roses U20 rivals keep unbeaten tag
Your News Roses U20 rivals keep unbeaten tag

DEFENDING champions Yorkshire claimed their second successive victory in the Northern Group of the National Under 20 Championship with an 18-0 win over Cheshire in very difficult conditions at Halifax RUC.

It was a testament to the hard work of the volunteers at the host club that the game was able to take place at all so saturated was the Ovenden Park pitch and Yorkshire Team Manager Keith Dyas paid tribute to the workers whose hard work had made the pitch playable.

"Obviously were delighted with the win and our players deserve praise for the way they performed, but today I think we should also share those congratulations with the Halifax club, who have made the win possible by their hard work yesterday and today." he said: "Their commitment has been tremendous and without it we would not have had a game. Theyve been tremendous."

"As we expected, it was a hard fought game. Our forwards dominated to a degree, but there were a lot of mistakes and I think we still have a lot to learn up front in terms of ball retention. Admittedly conditions were very difficult and for the most part the lads did what we asked of them.

"Theyre young men who are still learning their trade, so you have to accept that their will be flaws. Id certainly have taken an 18-0 win this morning 3-0 against Cheshire is always good enough!

"We have some high-quality players who will be available for our next match and I can see the selection meeting being quite a difficult affair."

Cheshires David Ewing was left to regret a handful of enforced mid-week changes that handicapped the visitors.

"Yorkshire were the better side, but the difficult conditions levelled things a bit. I thought we hung on well and maybe the final score didnt do justice to our lads," he said: "We had four changes in the pack, with the whole back-row needing to be reshaped.

"When we have all our best players available, we can give anyone a game, as weve proved, but we dont have the depth of talent to cope with serious injury problems."

Both sides had difficulty adjusting to a slippery ball and underfoot conditions which made straight-line running the only option, with solid defences and handling errors producing a midfield stalemate before the break.

Yorkshire managed the only try of the half when a close-range lineout produced the driving maul from which flanker Ben Dorrington (Hull) emerged with the try that put Yorkshire 5-0 ahead at the interval having played into an end-to-end gale.

A penalty by replacement Ben Watkinson (Durham University) edged them further ahead on the hour and as Yorkshire harnessed the elements to achieve territorial dominance, a smart try by full-back Jack Moon (Old Brodleians) on the hour and a replica touchdown from Dorrington two minutes from time completed the scoring.

Lancashire kept their challenge on track with a 24-3 win over Northumberland at Sedgley Park RUFC, their four tries to nil tally reflecting a game in which they were always ahead.

A try after only five minutes by centre Sam Russell (Fylde) was the ideal start for the Red Rose team and although Northumberland quickly cut the deficit with a penalty, Lancashire were 5-3 ahead at the break.

Again, the home side struck quickly after the re-start, a penalty try following the collapse of a powerful driving maul providing fly-half Alex Zavallis-Roebuck with the simple conversion and his side with a 12-3 advantage.

The No 10 was in action again to set up his sides third try, replacement centre Kelham OHanlon (Fylde) collecting a neat chip ahead and serving full-back Sean Taylor (Preston Grasshoppers) with the scoring pass.

Bath University replacement Max Ashcroft was the creator of the final try when he got away on the wing to initiate the movement which ended in No 8 Josh Beaumont (Fylde) scoring and Zavallis-Roebuck adding the conversion.

Cumbria were optimistic that, despite their opening defeat against Northumberland, with a full-strength squad they had the talent to make an impact and they justified that view with a 58-0 win over Durham at Carlisle RUFC.

The home side accumulated 10 tries in very difficult conditions, some sharp handling and equally precise finishing forcing Durham onto the back-foot throughout.

"We needed a referees inspection to decide whether the pitch was fit to play on, yet I spotted only a couple of dropped passes by our lads in the entire game, which was the extraordinary," says Cumbrias Kevin Johnston: "We played very, very well in horrendous conditions.

"The difference to our previous game, when we lost four or five players to injury, was that today we had a full squad, we played well and we took our tries well."

Chief beneficiary was Newcastle University wingman Andrew Whiteford, who collected a hat trick of tries, with No 8 Adam Birkett (Aspatria) grabbing a brace and others going to full-back Max Connon (Carlisle), centre Matt Minnett (Carlisle), wingman Mattie Studt (Furness), centre Chris Harris (Carlisle) and fly-half Grant Connon (Carlisle), who also added four conversions.

National Under 20 Championship North: January 23 (all kick-offs 2.15); Lancashire 20 Cheshire 15, Durham 0 Yorkshire 72, Northumberland 35 Cumbria 20. February 6; Lancashire 24 Northumberland 3 (at Sedgley Park), Yorkshire 18 Cheshire 0 (at Halifax), Cumbria 58 Durham 0 (at Carlisle RUFC). February 20; Lancashire v Cumbria (at Vale of Lune), Northumberland v Yorkshire (Ashington), Durham v Cheshire (at West Hartlepool). March 6; Durham v Lancashire (at Billingham), Cumbria v Yorkshire (at Penrith), Cheshire v Northumberland (at Crewe & Nantwich). March 20; Yorkshire v Lancashire (at Hull), Northumberland v Durham (at Morpeth), Cheshire v Cumbria (at New Brighton).

April 24: Semi-finals. May 7: Final at Twickenham

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