- Six-try start gets champions on the road
- Lancashire win sets up key Roses clash
Yorkshire launched the defence of their National Under 20 Championship title with a six-try 40-14 victory over Northumberland at Middlesbrough RFC last Sunday.
Tries by hooker Sam Kerry (Beverley) and fly-half Callum Irvine (Harrogate)in the first five minutes (both converted by Hull Ionians scrum-half Isaac Green) laid the foundation for victory.
Although the visitors rallied with a try by Joshua Hedley, the home side pulled ahead to lead 28-7 at the interval. Kerry scored a second and lock Guy Van Dries (Darlington Mowden Park) claimed the fourth with Green converting both.
When Yorkshire lost two players to the sin bin for technical offences, Northumberland took advantage to collect their second try through centre Oliver Tapscott. But the White Roses team had the last word with a try from Hull Ionians centre Ben Johnson, which was converted by Irvine.
In the other Pool 1 fixture at Chester, Cheshire went down 26-22 against Lancashire, who now have home advantage when they take on their arch-rivals Yorkshire on December 2 at Broughton Park RFC.
After a fairly even first 20 minutes, during which Cheshire lost two players to injury, Lancashire pulled away with three converted tries before Cheshire pegged them back with a converted try just before half- time.
Early in the second-half Lancashire scored again to lead 26-7, at which point they appeared to take their foot off the pedal, introduced three replacements and conceded a try out wide.
Trailing by 12 points with less than 10 minutes to go, Cheshire refused to concede and the sin binning of Lancashire flanker, Eddie Webster, showed how influential he had been at the breakdown. Cheshire scored two further tries to cut the deficit to four points as the game entered injury time, but despite a furious last ditch effort by the home side, Lancashire managed to defend desperately to hold out.
In Pool 1 of the Under 20s Shield Championship, Durham opened their programme with a 44-27 win over Cumbria at Upper Eden RFC.
Durham’s profligacy in conceding a string of first-half penalties gave the home side plenty of encouragement, but the visitors always looked dangerous with the ball in hand and they eventually collected eight tries in a convincing victory.