- Cheshire hat-trick sets up North Midlands win
- Warwickshire through to Shield semis
Photo: Ian Worthington
Luctonians winger Drew Cheshire marked his North Midlands debut with a hat-trick of tries in a 50-34 win over Devon in the County Championship Bill Beaumont Cup Second Division South at Stourbridge.
Cheshire has been a prolific try scorer for his club in National Two North this season and he took that form into a free-flowing county match.
Cheshire scored his first try before the break to help North Midlands open up a 26-15 half-time lead and he crossed twice more in the second half to ensure that they began their attempt to reclaim top flight status following relegation last season with an emphatic win.
North Midlands were 26-3 up at one stage but Devon capitalised on some poor defending to score two tries before the break.
But North Midlands were always in control and they pulled clear to give themselves an excellent chance of winning the group and progressing to the final at Twickenham on May 26.
North Midlands play their second and final group match against Somerset at Bridgwater & Albion on May 18.
North Midlands' other tries were scored by Newport (Gwent) wing Will Richards, Moseley scrum half Dave Brazier, Moseley prop Stef Thorpe, Bromsgrove flanker Phil Horton and replacement back row forward Paul Hulland (Luctonians). Full back Caolan Ryan of Moseley converted five of the tries.
East Midlands fall to Northumberland
East Midlands were beaten 34-14 by Northumberland at Towcestrians on their return to the Bill Beaumont Cup Second Division from the County Championship Shield.
East Midlands suffered for the sin-binning of centre Jack Green (Northampton Old Scouts) for a dangerous tackle midway through the first half as Northumberland ran in two tries while they were down to 14 men.
But East Midlands rallied strongly with flanker and captain Brett Daynes (Coventry) crossing for two close-range tries, both of them converted by Lawrence Rayner (Old Albanians).
East Midlands were only ten points adrift at half-time but were punished for a handling error as they tried to run from defence early in the second half, which gave Northumberland fly half Grant Connon his second try.
East Midlands continue their campaign against Eastern Counties at Cambridge on May 11.
Late try cements Warwickshire try
In the County Championship Shield Warwickshire required a late try from Broadstreet flanker Beau Carney to clinch a 25-10 win over Essex at Coventry, which took them through to the semi-finals.
Sutton Coldfield wing Rob Watts crossed for a first half try for Warwickshire but Essex led with five minutes remaining.
Number eight Chris Wood reduced the deficit with a try that was converted by fly half Danny Richards and Carney then rounded off a long range pick-and-drive move to clinch the win.
Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire ended a miserable campaign with a 71-0 defeat by Cumbria at Wigton.
The Pool One title will be decided next Saturday when Leicestershire, who trounced NLD 81-3 last week, travel to Penrith to play Cumbria.