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Home > News > North edge out Midlands in U18 Festival
Your News North edge out Midlands in U18 Festival

THE North survived a nerve-jangling end to their second match at the Under 18 Divisional Festival at Broadstreet RFC today to hold on for a 7-5 win over the Midlands.

A try from replacement prop James Flynn (Stockport GS, Manchester and Cheshire) and a conversion from Bruce Clegg (Barnard Castle School and Durham) appeared to have given the North victory in another tight contest dominated by two solid defences.

But the Midlands scored with the final play of the match when right wing Julian Hensman (Bedford Modern School and East Midlands) crossed on the overlap for his second try of the festival.

The North prevented Hensman from touching down close to the posts which left full-back Max Stelling (Old Swinford Hospital School, Moseley and North Midlands) with a tricky conversion which he put just wide to the joy and relief of the North players.

The North ended the festival unbeaten while the Midlands lost both their matches following a 34-28 reverse against London & South East on Friday.

The Midlands were forced to draft in centre Max Rodman (Solihull School, Birmingham & Solihull and Warwickshire), wing Aaron Morris (Biddenham Upper School, Bedford Blues and East Midlands) and flanker Will Skingsley (Bedford Modern School and East Midlands)to replace Louis Rimodlby, Colin Dickson and Ed Taylor who were all injured in the opening match.

There were few clear cut scoring opportunities in an even first half although Clegg struck a post with a fifth minute penalty attempt.

It was 0-0 at half time but the stalemate was broken ten minutes into the second half when Flynn was driven over by the North pack and Clegg tagged on the conversion.

The North dominate territory and possession but struggled to convert pressure into more points and the Midlands finished the stronger side.

Number eight Daniel Young (Bromsgrove School, Worcester and North Midlands) and lock Matt Spink (Worcester Sixth Form College, Birmingham & Solihull and Warwickshire) combined effectively but centre Charles Jones (Worcester Sixth Form College and North Midlands) fumbled the scoring pass.

The Midlands then put forward the most sustained attack of the match, forcing the North to concede penalties under pressure, and eventually creating space for Hensman to run in their try.

The England Under 18 Clubs and Schools selectors will now name a squad to train at the Surrey Sports Park in Guildford from March 9 to 10 in the build-up to the international against Ireland Under 18 Clubs in Northwood on April 14.

The England squad will play warm-up matches against Northampton Saints Academy at Surrey Sports Park on March 11 and Leicester Tigers Academy at Oval Park in Wigston on April 8.

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