3 January 2006 -
Centre Luke Eves starred in the South West's 29-7 victory over the North in the opening match of today's Under-18 Divisional Festival at Castlecroft in Wolverhampton.
Watched by his father Derek, the Hull Ionians and former Bristol and Coventry flanker, Eves ran in a sparkling hat-trick of tries and as the South West punished the North for an error-riddled performance.
Eves of Colston's School, Bristol and Gloucestershire, gave the South West and early lead when he rounded off a move started by a clever diagonal run from scrum-half Dominic Shaw (London Waps, Magdelen College School and Oxfordshire). He then used his pace and strength to cut through for his second try midway through the second half and completed his hat-trick by gathering a superbly-placed crossfield kick from replacement fly-half Richard Frost (Marlow, John Hampden School and Buckinghamshire) eight minutes from time.
The South West built impressively on the efforts of their big pack in which hooker Ryan Prosser (Colston's School, Bristol and Gloucestershire) impressed and number eight James Phillips (Bristol, St Brendan's School and Gloucestershire) acted as an effective ball-carrier.
Prosser scored the South West's second try just before half-time, which rounded off a sustained attack, and Phillips rumbled over early in the second half after a break from replacement scrum-half Tom Parker (NEC Harlequins, Millfield School and Somerset).
Fly-half Marc Davies (Gloucester, St Peter's School and Gloucestershire) and full-back Phil Chesters (Salisbury, Bishop Wordsworth School and Dorset & Wiltshire) each added one conversion.
The North worked hard throughout but were let down by poor handling at critical stages of the game which prevented them turning periods of territorial dominance into more points.
They held the lead briefly when full-back Michael Johnson (RGS Newcastle and Northumberland) showed skill and acceleration to cross for a 26th minute try which fly-half Robert Miller (Newcastle Falcons, Keswick School and Cumbria) improved.
London defeated the Midlands 21-8 in the day's second game at Castlecroft.
The England selectors will now name a provisional training squad to prepare for both the AER Under-18 European Championships and Home Unions Festival later in the year.
Further Divisional matches will be played next month at venues to be advised.