- Tomkins of Saracens helps Herts to second BB Cup victory
- Surrey make trek to Cumbria looking for Shield final
Hertfordshire and Surrey will make away trips this Saturday (May 19) aiming for the wins that would take them through to the finals of the Bill Beaumont Cup and County Championship Shield respectively, to be played at Twickenham Stadium on the day of the England v Barbarians match, May 27.
Hertfordshire, the 2011 Bill Beaumont Cup runners-up, go to Gloucestershire in the final round of this year’s pool matches knowing a win will guarantee them a return trip to Twickenham for another shot at winning England’s county crown.
Herts included Saracens stars Kameli Ratuvou, Joel Tomkins, Ben Ransom and Jared Saunders in the team that beat Cornwall 29-27 last Saturday (May 12) to go to the top of the Division One South pool with two wins out of two.
But a slip-up by Herts against Gloucestershire at Cinderford could let in Cornwall or North Midlands depending on what happens in their meeting in Camborne.
Herts fought back from a 16 point deficit to take their 29-27 lead against Cornwall at Hertford RFC’s Hoe Lane ground and were relieved to see a penalty by the visitors’ kicker Dave Pascoe hit a post with three minutes remaining.
In Division Two South of the Bill Beaumont Cup, Kent will host Somerset at Aylesford Bulls RFC this Saturday (May 19) looking for a win to go through to the Plate final which would be played on home turf.
Kent won 46-41 away to Devon last Saturday (May 12) in a remarkable match of 13 tries at Brixham RFC, with Kent’s flanker James Lindfield (Westcombe Park) scoring a first-half hat-trick. Full back Martyn Beaumont (Canterbury) scored 21 points with two tries, a penalty and four conversions, with centres Toby May (Westcombe Park) and Marcus Burcham (Blackheath) the other try scorers.
Kent coach Chris Wilkins said: “I am under no illusions about the task ahead and we will need to work hard to improve our defence for the game against Somerset.”
Eastern Counties need a big win over Durham in the Division Two North pool to make it through to the final.
Eastern Counties matched hosts Warwickshire with five tries each last Saturday but were defeated 39-34 in a thrilling contest.
Eastern Counties led 17-3 after 16 minutes but Warwickshire, coached by Worcester Warriors and Ireland flanker Neil Best, turned things around and they led 24-17 by half time.
Meanwhile in the County Championship Shield which is mainly for players at Level Five and below Surrey will make the long trek north for a semi final against Cumbria at Aspatria for the right to meet the winners of Leicestershire and Dorset & Wilts at Twickenham on May 27.
Surrey, captained by Dorking flanker Armand Roux, recovered from trailing 22-18 at half time to defeat previously unbeaten Middlesex 44-29 at Staines.
Surrey had tries by replacement flanker Chris Lewis (Wimbledon), hooker Nathan Kemp (Wimbledon), centre Alrich Muller (Dorking), full back Stuart Fee (London Irish Amateurs) and wing Mike Terelak (Dorking).
This year’s Shield campaign ended for Essex, Hampshire and Middlesex last Saturday with losses to Buckinghamshire, Sussex and Surrey respectively. Sussex’s 30-29 win was not enough for them to reach the semi finals.
All 23 players who represented Hampshire this season were making their senior debuts for the county with many being plucked from Snows Group Hampshire Division clubs including United Services Portsmouth, Farnborough and Overton.
Hampshire team manager Mike Marchant said: “Now we have some enthusiasm for the senior county side, we want to move on a level next year and hopefully target the knockout stages with this bunch of lads plus some others.”