- East Midlands defeat leaves quarter-final place in balance
- Gloucestershire go through to last eight
Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire (NLD) will have to wait until Sunday (February 10) to discover whether they have done enough to qualify for the quarter-finals of this season’s National Under 20 Championship.
A win in their final pool two match against East Midlands at Peterborough would have taken NLD through to the knockout stages, but they were beaten 24-14.
NLD must now await the outcome of Gloucestershire’s match against North Midlands at Cinderford where two points for North Midlands would take the visitors through.
NLD’s defeat at Peterborough means that Gloucestershire are certain of a quarter-final place, almost certainly as pool winners which would give them a home tie against the runners-up from pool one on April 7.
East Midlands ended their campaign on a high with their only win, right wing Joe Cantwell (Northampton BBOB) scoring an early try after good work by Towcestrians scrum half Gus Hopewell.
Hopewell’s half back partner Will Affleck (Luton) went over midway through the first half and centre Ollie Sims of Oundle added the conversion.
Hopewell then started and finished a superb length-of-the-pitch move from a quickly-taken tapped penalty to give East Midlands a 17-0 lead at the break.
NLD hit back when fly half Jim Wigglesworth (Hull and Nottingham Academy) crossed for a try that he also improved.
But East Midlands put the game beyond reach when replacement scrum half Sam Pointon (Loughborough University) went over for the bonus point try and Sims tagged on the conversion.
NLD’s second try from prop Josh Salathiel (Nottingham Boots Corsairs) and a conversion from Derby’s George Castledine came too late to save the Three Counties from an anxious wait.
In the National Under 20 Shield Durham have already won pool one so Leicestershire’s match against Cumbria at Coalville on February 10 (2.30pm) will be a wooden spoon decider.
Warwickshire’s match against Oxford University at Iffley Road (2.30pm) will decide which side progresses to the quarter-finals with Oxfordshire, who travel to Burntwood to face Staffordshire having rattled up 70 points in their two games to date.