- NLD give Gloucestershire a fright
- Leicestershire beaten despite Motson haul
Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire gave Gloucestershire an almighty fright before they were beaten 34-30 in today’s National Under 20 Championship match at Derby today.
Gloucestershire, who were last season’s beaten finalists, began their campaign with a comfortable win over East Midlands last month but encountered unexpectedly tough resistance from NLD who were affected by the norovirus in the build-up to the match.
But another brilliant individual display from Jim Wigglesworth (Hull and Nottingham Academy), their fly-half and captain, two tries from right wing Grant Ward (Kesteven and Nottingham Academy) and dominant scrummaging from props Josh Salathiel (Nottingham Boots Corsairs) and Matt Ashton (Market Rasen) pushed Gloucestershire to the limit.
Gloucestershire were 14 points up after five minutes with wing Auguy Slowak (Filton College) and hooker Luke Crunden (Cinderford) crossing for early tries which were both converted by fly-half Jack Skelton of Filton College.
NLD rallied with centre Jake Roome crossing for a well-worked try on his home ground which Wigglesworth improved.
Gloucestershire restored their 14 points advantage when left wing Ed Sheldon of Dursley jinked through for a stunning individual try which Skelton improved but Wigglesworth kept NLD in the game with a penalty just before half time.
The gap was down to six points within two minutes of the re-start as sustained NLD pressure created space for left wing Henri Packard of Matlock to score on the overlap but this time Wigglesworth could not add the extras.
Skelton relieved some of the pressure for Gloucestershire with a penalty three minutes later but Ward squeezed in for his first try to reduce their lead to four points.
Skelton struck again midway through the second half and openside flanker Max Woodward of Old Redcliffians crossed from close range for the deciding try after Gloucestershire’s pack had laid siege to the home line.
Skelton tagged on the conversion which proved to be significant as Wigglesworth could not improve Ward’s second try, after he had helped to set the right wing free, nor his own try with the very last play of a free-flowing contest which was a terrific advert for the competition.
Leicestershire, who were beaten by Gloucestershire in last season’s semi-finals, were beaten 50-32 by Durham at Hartlepool Rovers in their opening pool match in the new National Under 20 Shield.
Fly-half Tom Motson of Leicester Lions scored a full hand of points in his 27 points haul for Leicestershire.
Motson scored a try, kicked five penalties, a drop goal and two conversions with Loughborough Students flanker Ollie Dickerson scoring Leicestershire’s second try.
Leicestershire were leading 32-29 at one stage but Durham, who had beaten Cumbria in their opening pool match, pulled clear in the last ten minutes.
The National Under 20 Championship continues tomorrow (December 3) when North Midlands host East Midlands at Moseley (7.30pm).