- Wigglesworth the architect of NLD win
- Bartlett’s last minute penalty agony scuppers chance of victory for North Midlands
England Counties Under 20 fly half Jim Wigglesworth tormented North Midlands for a second successive season to help Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire open their National Under 20 Championship campaign with a 17-15 win at Derby today.
Last season Wigglesworth was the inspiration of NLD’s second-half revival at Moseley. This time he scored two tries in five first-half minutes to set up a nerve-jangling win.
Wigglesworth (Hull and Nottingham Academy) raced over for a long range interception try after 23 minutes and then sidestepped his way through some flimsy tackling for his second five minutes later.
Wigglesworth also converted both his tries to go with an early penalty and his first-half haul proved enough to withstand North Midlands’ fightback, but only just.
A close range try from scrum half Osaki Takuya (Bromsgrove) just before half-time meant that North Midlands were only seven points adrift at the break.
The deficit was reduced to two points when Luctonians wing Alex Rumsey rounded off an attack down the left flank.
Wigglesworth continued to test the visitors’ defence but NLD could not find another way over the line and instead it was North Midlands who finished the stronger side.
Fly half Bar Bartlett of Bromsgrove, who kicked a first-half penalty and also converted Takuya’s try, had the chance to snatch victory with a long range penalty attempt with what proved to be the final kick of the match. But his kick fell agonisingly short , to NLD’s obvious relief.
NLD host Gloucestershire, last season’s runners-up, at Derby in their next pool match on December 2 while North Midlands host East Midlands at Moseley on December 3.