- Bill Beaumont Cup holders Hertfordshire face Cornwall next
- Surrey and Sussex through to Shield semis but Essex miss out
Hertfordshire scored eight tries to beat Gloucestershire 56-22 at Hertford RFC last Saturday (May 11) and stay on course for a possible Bill Beaumont Cup final re-match with Lancashire.
Old Albanians centre Sam Stanley converted all Herts’ tries as England’s reigning county champions stayed on top of Division One South of the competition, with Lancashire – the team they beat in last year’s Twickenham Stadium final – looking good to win Division One North.
This year’s final at Twickenham is on Sunday, May 26, the day of the England v Barbarians match.
Gloucestershire played their part in a highly entertaining match, played in difficult windy conditions, scoring four tries to earn a bonus point but Herts scored three tries in a crucial spell during the third quarter to seize control.
Fly half/head coach James Shanahan and captain Brett McNamee (both Old Albanians) scored two tries each, while scrum half Ben Spencer (Saracens), centre Chris Lombaard (Old Albanians) and wings Jack Wilson (Saracens) and Chris May (Old Albanians) also went over.
Shanahan is joining Plymouth Albion next season but first he will seek to guide Hertfordshire to more honours.
The county are top of their pool table by two points having earned a try-scoring bonus point in each match to date, and next face a tricky final pool match against unbeaten Cornwall at Camborne on Saturday (May 18).
Hertfordshire v Gloucestershire, won 56-22 (Old Albanian RFC unless stated): Tom Newton (Tring); Chris May, Chris Lombaard, Sam Stanley, Jack Wilson (Saracens); James Shanahan, Ben Spencer (Saracens); Charlie Hughes, Jared Saunders (Saracens), Rob Schillaci, Ross Hamilton, Eoin Sheriff (Saracens), Brett McNamee (capt), Olie Cooper-Millar, Andrew Daish.
Replacements (all used): Max Crumpton (Saracens), Jim Remfrey (Barnes), Craig South (Hertford), Tom Coleman (Bishop's Stortford), Stefan Liebenberg, Matt Chambers, Jimmy Speirs.
County Championship Shield holders Surrey went through to the semi finals of this season’s competition with a 41-12 win away to previously unbeaten Dorset & Wilts at Swanage & Wareham RFC last Saturday (May 11).
Surrey now travel to Sussex, who narrowly overcame Hampshire in their pool, in the last four on Saturday May 18 with the prize of an appearance in the final on the hallowed turf at Twickenham Stadium on May 26 after the England v Barbarians match.
Against Dorset & Wilts, Surrey built an early lead with tries by No.8 Ian White (Dorking) and centre Matt Noble (Dorking) converted by fly half and captain Neil Hallett (Wimbledon), before Hallett’s opposite number Cameron Brown scored a try in the corner for the Twin Counties.
Immediately, Surrey’s forwards drove up the pitch and won a penalty, which fly half Hallett did well to convert in the blustery wind, then wing Fraser Carlisle showed his pace to grab Surrey’s third try and Hallett converted for a half-time lead of 24-5.
The second half saw a determined and sustained period of pressure from the home side – winners of the Shield in 2010 and 2011 – leading eventually to a try for full back Tom Pottage converted by Brown.
From this point onwards, Surrey took control and after a good chargedown by flanker Jon Vermont (Dorking), Hallett scooped up the loose ball to score and add the conversion for a 34-12 lead.
Replacement Will Crow (Dorking) added Surrey’s fifth try, and Hallett converted it for a personal total of 21 points.
Surrey, v Dorset & Wilts won 41-12 (all Dorking RFC unless stated): Fraser Mosley; George Owen (London Irish Wild Geese), Matt Noble, Sean Cunningham (London Irish WG), Fraser Carlisle (London Irish WG); Neil Hallett (Wimbledon, capt), Steve Munford; Ben Knight, James Catton, Charlie Connor (London Irish WG), Jake Dobson , Matt Higgins, Scott Moore (London Irish WG), Jon Vermont, Ian White.
Replacements: Sam Johnson, Joey Nanai (Wimbledon), Steve May (Wimbledon), Jason Geldenhuys, Will Crow, Fraser Macdonald, Matt Betty (East Grinstead).
Essex were left wondering what might have been after their five-try, 32-12 win over Buckinghamshire.
The victory showed the county as a force to be reckoned with, but they had let a possible win at Warwickshire the previous week and so did not progress to the Shield semi finals.
Essex have however taken solace from their recent representative successes through the following players: Dominic Morris and Billy Walker (England Under 16), George Perkins (England U18), Charlie Kingham (England U18 Clubs and Schools), Max Crumpton (England U20) and Emily Scott (England Women’s Sevens).
RFU County Championship 2013 results and fixtures:
Bill Beaumont Cup
Division 1 North
May 4: Durham 29 Lancashire 40; Yorkshire 21 Cheshire 15
May 11: Durham 29 Cheshire 31; Lancashire 35 Yorkshire 25
May 18: Cheshire v Lancashire; Yorkshire v Durham.
Division 1 Sout
May 4: Gloucestershire 19 Cornwall 24; Kent 26 Hertfordshire 50
May 11: Hertfordshire 56 Gloucestershire 22; Kent 17 Cornwall 23
May 18: Cornwall v Hertfordshire; Gloucestershire v Kent
Bill Beaumont Cup Final: Sunday May 26, Twickenham Stadium, 3.15pm.
Division 2 North
May 4: East Midlands 14 Northumberland 34
May 11: Eastern Counties 17 East Midlands 23
May 18: Northumberland v Eastern Counties
Division 2 South
May 4: North Midlands 50 Devon 34
May 11: Devon 11 Somerset 30
May 18: Somerset v North Midlands
County Championship Division 2 Plate Final: Sunday May 26, Twickenham Stadium, 9.30am.
County Championship Shield
April 27: Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire 3 Leicestershire 81
May 4: Cumbria 71 Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire 0
May 11: Cumbria 38 Leicestershire 17
April 27: Buckinghamshire 12 Warwickshire 41
May 4: Warwickshire 25 Essex 20
May 11: Essex 32 Buckinghamshire 12
April 27: Surrey 67 Oxfordshire 12; Berkshire 17 Dorset & Wilts 23
May 4: Berkshire 36 Surrey 49; Dorset & Wilts 58 Oxfordshire 14
May 11: Oxfordshire 50 Berkshire 10; Dorset & Wilts 12 Surrey 41
April 27: Hampshire 41 Middlesex 19
May 4: Sussex 26 Hampshire 23
May 11: Middlesex 27 Sussex 29
May 18: Semi finals: Sussex v Surrey, Cumbria v Warwickshire.
County Championship Shield Final: Sunday May 26, Twickenham Stadium, 5.15pm