- Leicestershire exit County Championship Shield after Cumbria defeat
- East Midlands victorious against Eastern Counties
Leicestershire crashed out of the County Championship Shield with a 38-17 defeat against Cumbria in their final pool match at Penrith.
Leicestershire head coach Paul Walsh had described the match as a quarter-final as the winners were guaranteed a place in the semi-finals and Cumbria’s solid defence helped them secure home advantage against Warwickshire on May 18.
It took Leicestershire time to recover from the long journey and they found themselves up against a familiar opponent in Cumbria scrum half Ben Walker, who played for Leicester Lions last season.
Walker and his half-back partner Alistair Ledingham pulled the strings for Cumbria, who built up a 23-7 lead by half-time with South Leicester scrum half Joe Glover scoring Leicestershire’s try, which was improved by his South Leicester teammate Mark Lord.
Lord added a penalty to reduce the deficit and when centre Ryan Oakes (Hinckley) crossed for a second-half try and Lord added the extras Leicestershire were only nine points adrift.
Leicestershire had two scoring opportunities to really put the pressure on Cumbria but wing Steve Barnes (Tring) was bundled into touch after he broke clear and Walker got back to intercept a pass from Lord when the fly half cut through.
East Midlands ended their County Championship Bill Beaumont Cup Division Two North campaign on a high note with a 23-17 win over Eastern Counties at Cambridge.
East Midlands recovered from going 14-0 down early on to take control of the match once the rain had cleared and conditions had improved.
England Counties scrum-half Lewis Barker set up his Coventry club-mate Heath Stevens for the East Midlands’ opening try which was converted by Scott Browne of Canterbury.
Browne added a penalty which meant that East Midlands were only seven points adrift at the break and improved defence in the second half secured the win.
Captain and flanker Brett Daynes (Coventry) rumbled over for two tries in the final quarter to take his tally to four in two matches on his return to the East Midlands ranks.
But East Midlands missed out on a bonus point, which means that they cannot overtake Northumberland who host Eastern Counties next Saturday.
North Midlands will face a Division Two South group decider of the Bill Beaumont Cup against Somerset at Bridgwater & Albion on May 18 after Somerset beat Devon 30-11 on Saturday (May 11).