- Oxford University edge out Warwickshire in mudbath
- Leicestershire go through to quarters
Warwickshire left their fightback too late and missed out on a place in the quarter-finals of the National Under 20 Shield after they were edged out 15-12 by Oxford University at Iffley Road on Sunday (February 10).
As Oxfordshire had already qualified for the last eight as winners of Pool Two it became a straight shoot-out to decide who went through with them and Warwickshire missed out in atrocious weather conditions.
The students mastered the conditions in the first half and built up a 10-0 lead, which they extended to 15-0 before Warwickshire began their fightback. Scrum half Josh Palmer (Barkers’ Butts) and lock Rudi Reid (Old Laurentians) scored tries and Ben Palmer (Bromgsrove), the brother of Josh, added a conversion but Warwickshire ran out of time.
Staffordshire ended Oxfordshire’s unbeaten record and finished their campaign on a high with a 14-0 win, which was also played in dreadful conditions at Burntwood.
Full back Will Jones of Wolverhampton kicked Staffordshire into a 9-0 lead by half-time with three penalties.
Scrum half Ed Askew (Longton) scored the only try of a compelling contest when he tapped a penalty and darted over late on.
Leicestershire overcame mudbath conditions at Coalville and stubborn resistance from Cumbria to book their passage to the quarter-finals with an 8-6 win.
Durham had already won the three-team Pool One, which left the Coalville contest as a decider for the second qualifying place.
Leicester Lions fly half Tom Moxon gave Leicestershire the advantage with a first-half try and penalty.
Cumbria hit back with two penalties in the second half but Leicestershire held out in grim conditions to book a trip to Oxfordshire in the quarter-finals on April 7.
North Midlands will have to find a new date for their National Under 20 Championship pool match against Gloucestershire after a waterlogged pitch at Cinderford forced a postponement today.
North Midlands need two points from the match to deny Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire a place in the quarter-finals although a losing bonus point in a narrow defeat might still prove sufficient.