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Home > News > Bill Beaumont Cup holders start with a win
Your News Bill Beaumont Cup holders start with a win

REIGNING Bill Beaumont Cup holders and County Champions Lancashire launched the defence of their title with an entertaining 37-27 win over neighbours Cheshire at Fylde, where the visitors delivered a surprisingly robust challenge after being severely handicapped by selection problems.

The Red Rose side captured a 30-27 lead in the dying minutes after a very close game at the Woodlands and even then Cheshire were camped on the Lancashire 5m line and launching a series of attacks which looked destined to lead to a winning score.

However, a tenacious home defence held out and when Cheshire lost possession, Fylde pair Mike Waywell and Nick Royle combined to get Liverpool St Helens wingman Mark Turner over for the clinching score that fly-half Steve Collins goaled.

"We just couldn't shake Cheshire off," said Lancashire coach Mark Nelson: "For the last five minutes solid they were battering our line, going though nine or ten phases and keeping the pressure on us.

"It was nail-biting stuff to say the least - exciting if not riddled with quality. But it was a winning start."

Nelson also ascribed an important part of the Red Rose success to the options provided by the experimental rolling subs regulations.

"We used the system to take off scrum-half Ryan de la Harpe, who was going through a sticky patch, and chat with him about what was needed before putting him back on," said Nelson: "We got him to refocus and he did much better after that break, giving us much more control. Tactically, I would say it had a massive impact on the game."

Rochdale fly-half Steve Collins also had a big effect, scoring 22 points with a try, four conversions and three penalties, the other tries coming from Jan Laurens (2), James O'Brien and Turner.

Ollie Hewitt, Steve Campbell (2) and Richard Smith crossed for Cheshire, with centre Mark Atkinson landing two penalties and a conversion.

With all the uncertainty surrounding their team selection ahead of the game and a 12-0 deficit to overturn during it, Yorkshire were more than content to come away from Tynedale with a 31-26 win over Northumberland under their belts.

Desperate Yorkshire defence in the early stages brought a yellow card for Jon Skurr and before Yorkshire could getting a foothold, a penalty try converted by fly-half Andrew Hall and another from hooker Joe Graham to give Northumberland a well earned 12-0 lead.

The visitors then responded with tries by wingmen Steve Parsons and debutant James Tincknell, wingman Peter Cole crossing for Northumberland to leave the home side 19-12 ahead at the interval.

The second-half brought attacking rugby from both teams, but Northumberland were let down by mistakes, one of which led to a try by lock Matt Challinor which levelled the scores.

Northumberland almost immediately restored their lead as full-back Sep Visser broke through to score for a 26-17 lead, but in the final 10 minutes Yorkshire found their rhythm and dominated possession to score two converted tries by full-back Jon Feeley and Jon Skurr, the latter in injury time, scrum-half Jonny West adding the goals to cement a 31-26 victory.

In North Division Two of the Bill Beaumont Cup, Durham had a kick to win the game when they pulled back to 26-25 against North Midlands at Stourbridge after trailing 26-6 at one stage, but the goal shot by wingman Peter Evans was off the mark.

Birmingham & Solihull centre Cameron Mitchell played a prominent part in North Midlands win as he scored one try and featured prominently in the move that led to his club-mate Rod Petty, the scrum-half, crossing.

North Midlands trailed for most of the first half after Durham City full-back Dan Kyle slotted two penalties for Durham, but a brace of tries gave the home side a 12-6 lead at the break.

Another brace of tries appeared to put the game out of Durham's reach, but Durham staged a stirring fightback with tries by Steven Jones and Phil Eggleshaw (2) and almost made North Midlands play for their lack of focus in the closing stages.

"We switched off after that through a combination of factors: it's been a long hard season for the boys and we probably thought we had won the game so we didn't need to put in the effort," said North Midlands' head coach Alan Hubbleday.

Cumbria launched their County Championship Shield campaign in fine style when they scored six converted tries to beat Staffordshire 42-10 at Penrith.

All the signs from the build-up to the game pointed to an enthusiastic group which had bought into the county ethos and events on the field underlined that commitment, with the new rolling replacement initiative giving everyone in the squad a chance to impress.

"I was very pleased with the way things went," said Team Manager Mark Richardson: "We played really well, especially considering that this was our first outing together, and everyone played his part.

Wingman James Ellar led the scoring with a try and six conversions, while there were also tries from scrum-half Paul Newton, who grabbed two, fly-half Dave Barton and wingman Joe Nattrass.

Centre Tom Bartram scored all Staffordshire's points in a second consecutive defeat with an interception try, conversion and penalty.

"Our only injury worry ahead of the trip to Mansfield next weekend is centre Martin Armstrong, who came off after five minutes with a leg injury." said Richardson: "That was a bit worrying at the time, but his replacement Gavin Cartmel played exceptionally well, as did his Penrith club-mate and No 8 Mike Raine, who was outstanding.

"Considering it was probably his first game at this level, Furness full-back Nick Beech also did particularly well, while replacement prop Andreas Venter from Furness also made a very big impact when he got on.

"The rolling subs regulations had me running to the fourth official several times to keep abreast of how we were doing, but in the end it worked out really well. We used 11 of our 12 interchanges, two for injuries and nine as tactical moves.

"The beauty of the regulation for us is that we have a strong squad of 22 and it was difficult to finalise the starting line-up in the first place. The new rules allowed us to tell the players to really go all out from the start and that we would make changes in the second-half. That's what we did and it seemed to work out really well."

*Rugby followers are being offered an opportunity to express their views on the rolling replacements trial in an online survey. To access the survey please go to and then enter the survey ID which is N413693. The survey will remain open until 4th June 2010.

Bill Beaumont Cup

May 8: North Division One - Northumberland 26 Yorkshire 31 (at Tynedale RFC), Lancashire 37 Cheshire 27 (at Fylde RFC). South Division One - Cornwall 17 Devon 31 (at Cambourne RFC), Gloucestershire 26 Hertfordshire 3 (at Lydney RFC). North Division Two - Warwickshire 24 Eastern Counties 8 (at Coventry RFC), North Midlands 26 Durham 25 (at Stourbridge). South Division Two - Middlesex 18 Somerset 35 (at Staines RFC), Hampshire 15 Kent 55 (at Havant RFC).

May 15: North Division One - Northumberland v Lancashire (at Percy Park RFC, 3pm), Cheshire v Yorkshire (at Macclesfield RFC, 3pm). South Division One - Devon v Gloucestershire (at Plymouth Albion RFC, 3pm), Hertfordshire v Cornwall (at Hertford RFC, 3pm). North Division Two - North Midlands v Eastern Counties (at Stourbridge RFC, 3pm), Durham v Warwickshire (at Gateshead RFC, 3pm). South Division Two - Somerset v Kent (Taunton RFC, 3pm), Middlesex v Hampshire (at Staines RFC, 3pm).

May 22: North Division One - Cheshire v Northumberland (at Chester RFC, 3pm), Yorkshire v Lancashire (at Huddersfield RFC, 3pm). South Division One - Hertfordshire v Devon (at Old Albanians, 3pm), Cornwall v Gloucestershire (at Redruth RFC, 3pm). North Division Two - Eastern Counties v Durham (at Sudbury RFC, 3pm), Warwickshire v North Midlands (at Rugby Lions RFC, 3pm). South Division Two - Hampshire v Somerset (at Basingstoke RFC, 3pm), Kent v Middlesex (at Folkestone RFC, 3pm).

May 29: Division Two Plate final - Winners of South Division Two v Winners of North Division Two.

May 30: Cup final: Winners of North Division One v Winners of South Division One at Twickenham

County Championship Shield

May 1: Pool 1 - East Midlands 15 Oxfordshire 54, Leicestershire 43 Essex 19; Pool 2 - Staffordshire 20 Notts, Lincs & Derby 28; Pool 3 - Dorset & Wilts 31 Buckinghamshire 6, Berkshire 28 Sussex 20.

May 8: Pool 1 - Leicestershire 33 Oxfordshire 12 at Market Harborough RFC, Essex 32 East Midlands 24 (at Barking RFC).Pool 2 - Cumbria 42 Staffordshire 10 (at Penrith RFC).

Pool 3 - Dorset & Wilts 48 Berkshire 10 (at Swanage & Wareham RFC), Buckinghamshire 24 Sussex 22 (at Aylesbury RFC).

May 15: Pool 1 - East Midlands v Leicestershire (at Peterborough RFC, 3pm), Oxfordshire v Essex (at Chinnor RFC, 3pm). Pool 2 - Notts, Lincs & Derby v Cumbria (at Mansfield RFC, 3pm. Pool 3 - Sussex v Dorset & Wilts (at Lewes RFC 3pm), Buckingham v Berkshire (at Marlow RFC, 3pm).

May 22: Shield Semi-finals - Pools 1 & 3 have home advantage

May 30: Shield Final at Twickenham

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