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Home > News > Roses pair move in National U20 semis
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Your News Roses pair move in National U20 semis

Roses rivals Yorkshire and Lancashire both moved into the semi-finals of the National RU Under 20 Championship today, although their respective passages into the last four were quite different in character.

Yorkshire qualified in emphatic style when they scored ten tries to put East Midlands to the sword 61-19 at Pontefract, whereas the Red Rose side had to recover from a 20-7 deficit to win 36-23 against Notts, Lincs & Derby at Nottingham RFC.

Yorkshire's game was over as a contest when the White Rose side delivered an irresistible first-half display in which they combined forward power, pace and skill in the backs and an impressive measure of team cohesion that their visitors could not contain.

Yorkshire led 32-7 with five tries in the first 27 minutes, the pick being a superlative sweeping move from deep in their own half in which the pack produced a surge of perfectly-timed close support play to create the momentum and flanker Oliver Rodgers supplied the telling pass that released the backs and left fly-half Sam Watkinson with an unchallenged path to the try-line.

Two tries by wingman Tom Hodson underlined his impressive finishing skills, while a brace from full-back Joel Gill and two more from No 8 Laurence Pearce extended the carnage to half-time, at which point Yorkshire were leading 44-7, centre Tom Davidson landing three conversions and a penalty.

East Midlands' first-half score by wingman Josh Bassett followed a breakdown in a Yorkshire counter-attack and a kick-and-chase, fly-half Darryl Veenendal adding the conversion.

The score was no more than East Midlands deserved for their tenacity and character when Yorkshire were at the fluent best and it was a testament to the resolve of the visitors that in the second-half they sustained their refusal to concede the struggle and matched their opponents at 12 points each in the second period.

With the game in the bag, the home side were unable to maintain their sense of direction and composure and the game deteriorated into a scrappy affair in which Yorkshire's earlier coherence evaporated totally and East Midlands grew in stature as their efforts to disrupt their opponents were increasingly successful.

Tries by prop Lewis Thiede and replacements Ben Dorrington and Gavin Stead, with one conversion from Davidson, completed Yorkshire's scoring, while scrum-half Craig Tandy and replacement Cameron Renton crossed for East Midlands, with Veenendal adding one conversion.

Lancashire opening the scoring against NLD with a try by flanker Luke Woolley that full-back James Conville converted, but the home side hit bck with a brace of tries and a conversion to lead 12-7 at half-time.

A penalty and a third try for the Three Counties then put them in the drving seat at 20-7. Scrum-half James Smith launched the counter-attack with a try before NLD edged further ahead with a penalty, but replacement full-back Mike Dutton lifted Lancashire with a try before wingman Ben Stelmaszek touched down to cut the deficit to a point at 23-22.

Dutton's second try, converted by centre Sam Russell then put the visitors ahead for the first time and it was left to prop Stuart Heskett to round off the win with a try that Russell goaled.

Lancashire will now visit defending champions Gloucestershire, who today beat Surrey 44-7.

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