- Wigglesworth brace sets up win for NLD
- Leicestershire and East Midlands set up group decider
Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire reached the Midlands final of the National Under 20 Championship by clinching Group B with a 32-13 win over Staffordshire in a frenetic contest at Mansfield’s Eakring Road ground this evening.
Two brilliant individual tries from fly-half Jim Wigglesworth (Hull) set the Three Counties on their way to victory.
Wigglesworth sliced through five minutes before half time and went over from longer range in the first minute of the second period.
Staffordshire took the pitch wearing unfamiliar yellow shirts loaned by the host club as their kit did not arrive after team manager Ian Bailey broke down on his way to the ground.
Staffordshire were also missing a number of key players but despite those problems they settled quicker than NLD and drew first blood when centre Charles Popp (Burton) slotted an eighth minute penalty.
NLD eventually found some control and full back Greg Mellor (Buxton) joined the line to score an unconverted try but Staffordshire led again when Popp added his second penalty on the half hour.
Wigglesworth’s brace of tries either side of the break was followed by a well-taken effort from left wing Grant Ward (Kesteven) and another from the base of the scrum by scrum half Josh Tizard (Derby).
Staffordshire may have had defensive frailties but they were better organised in attack and they reduced the deficit when loosehead prop Joe Newton-Taylor (Leek) crossed from close range and Popp added the conversion.
A storming run from Burntwood back row Rhys Morgan almost brought another try but NLD survived and they wrapped up the scoring with the final play of the match when replacement prop Simeon Meek (Buxton) crossed for their sixth try.
NLD now progress to the Midlands final on March 14 where they will winners of next Wednesday’s Leicestershire v East Midlands match at Market Harborough.
Leicestershire eased past Cambridge University 32-11 at South Leicester this evening where first half tries from flanker Liam Cooper (Gloucester University), centre Matt Fisher (South Leicester) and wing Michael Rayns (Syston) set them on their way to victory.
Replacement wing John Taylor (Leicester Lions) added Leicestershire’s fourth try in the second half with fly-half Tom Moxon (Loughborough Students) kicking two penalties and three conversions.
East Midlands ended Warwickshire’s hopes of progressing further with a 15-3 win in a scrappy contest at Broadstreet.
Coventry lock Dan Brotherton scored an early try for East Midlands which Lawrence Rayner of Old Albanians converted. Heath Stevens of Coventry took over the kicking duties when Rayner departed injured and he landed a penalty before the break.
Warwickshire responded with a penalty from Broadstreet centre Scott Harman and East Midlands required a 55th minute try from replacement wing Chris Wood (Leighton Buzzard) to clinch the win.
Warwickshire complete their programme with a rearranged match against Cambridge University at Grange Road on March 6.