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Home > News > North U20 edge trial thriller with Midlands
Your News North U20 edge trial thriller with Midlands

TWELVE tries and a banquet of attacking rugby in which unselfish handling of a sort not usually seen in trial games provided the new England Counties Under 20 selectors with plenty of material to ponder after the North had beaten the Midlands 41-34 in a hugely enjoyable trial at Morley RFC tonight (Wednesday, April 6).

Not surprisingly, there was generous appreciation from both camps at the way their players and coaches had delivered such a compelling spectacle.

The coaches of both sides deserve a lot of credit for what their players achieved in such a short space of time together, said North Manager David Ewing: Defensively, there are areas to work on, but some of the attacking play was excellent and provided a very entertaining game.

When you start to make changes from the bench, the game inevitably breaks up to some extent and in the end attack comfortably beat defence, but we enjoyed watching those creative skills being put on show.

Said Midlands Under 20 Chairman Danny Tolfts: I thought it was an exciting game with a lot of skill, pace and power. We saw young men keen to go forward and I thought it was everything we hoped it would be.

I was very pleased with the game and as Chairman of the Midlands, Im very proud of our performance. This was 80 minutes of very good rugby which showed what ability there is at this level below the elite game.

The Midlands were first to make an impact when fly-half Lee Chapman landed an early penalty and after Stobbarts gallop home from half-way, flanker Jordan Distin broke stealthily from a maul to cross near the posts, Chapman adding the conversion.

When the Midlands were hit with a salvo of three tries in five minutes from centre Peter Homan (2) and wingman Jamie Harrison and two conversions from fly-half Grant Connon, their resolve was severely tested, but they did not buckle under the pressure and instead hit back with a nice piece of finishing from centre Gareth Clarke when the Norths tackling fell below par for the first time.

Smart work by centre Elliott Brierley launched the first North attack after the break and after the ball had passed through a few pairs of hands and bounced conveniently off a forehead, prop Matt Shields drove over to make the score 29-15.

Back came the Midlands with a try by prop Joe Pass from strong forward pressure that Chapman goaled to get his side back in contention at 29-22, but the North had an immediate riposte when the elusive Brierley broke free again.

With the North using all their replacements, the balance of the game changed perceptibly and again the Midlands were able respond, slick handling paving the way for centre Matt Fisher to get the first of his two scores, but again the North regrouped quickly for Harrison to cross and replacement Sam Watkinson to convert from wide out.

The Midlands, however, battled to the bitter end and were rewarded when Fisher slipped easily through for a try at the posts that Chapman converted to end a frenetic encounter.

The England Counties Under 20s will meet their Scotland counterparts at West Park Leeds on May 6.

North Under 20s: Eddie Stobbart (Cheshire/Sedgley Park); Jamie Harrison (Lancashire/Broughton Park), Elliott Brierley (Cheshire/Macclesfield) vice-capt, Peter Homan (Yorkshire/Middlesbro), Tommy Banks (Lancashire/Westoe), Grant Connon (Cumbria/Carlisle), Rory Bell (Cheshire/Stockport); William Dutton (Yorkshire/York), Tom Moody (Yorkshire/Morley), Matt Shields (Northumberland/Tynedale) capt, Josh Beaumont (Lancashire/Fylde), Sam Brady (Yorkshire/Pontefract), Carl Kirwan (Yorkshire/Middlesborough), Sam Mullarkey (Cheshire/Morley), Ben Morris (Yorkshire/Westoe).

Replacements used: Ben Sowery (Yorkshire/Wharfedale), Lewis McKay (Cheshire/Wilmslow), Callum Rowlandson (Cumbria/Whitehaven), Harrison Collins (Lancashire/Fylde), Matt Mellish (Durham/Blaydon) (for Bell, 33), Sam Watkinson (Yorkshire/Ripon) (for Connon, 53), Tom Bramwell (Northumberland/Tynedale) (for Homan, 50).

Midlands U20s: Mark Woollard (NLD/Scunthorpe); Leo Donnelly (Leics/MarketHarborough), Gareth Clarke (Leics/South Leicester), Huw Morgan (East Mids/Leighton Buzzard), Rob Brown (North Mids/Bournville); Lee Chapman (Warks/Nuneaton) capt, Andrew Murray (Warks/Nuneaton); Joe Pass (NLD/Derby), Dan Kirby (North Mids/Newport), Kieran Stone (Leices/Leicester Vipers), William Ward (Leics/Melton), Liam Mather (NLD/Nuneaton), Jake Barron (NLD/Scunthorpe), Jordan Diston (Warks/Old Coventrians), Joe Collingham (NLD/Paviors).

Replacements used: Oliver Taylor (NLD/Nuneaton), Gareth Gripton (NLD/Mansfield), Charlie Potter (N Mids/Harper Adams UC/Newport), Simon Johnson (Liecs/Lutterworth), Matthew Fisher (Leics/South Leics), James Stokes (NLD/Mansfield), Adam Shaw (NLD/Mansfield).

Referee: Chris Sharp (RFU)

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