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National Under 20 Shield review from the Midlands

18 November 2013

  • Second half blitz stuns Warwickshire
  • Leicestershire triumph but Staffordshire edged out

Warwickshire suffered a second half collapse and were beaten 36-8 by a lively Oxfordshire in their opening National Under 20 Shield Pool Two match at Old Leamingtonians RFC on Sunday, November 17.

A close contest appeared in prospect when Warwickshire led 8-3 at the break but the pace and strength of Oxfordshire’s backs proved decisive after the break.

Oxfordshire scored 24 unanswered points in as many minutes after the break during which they secured the try bonus point with centre William Millett crossing twice and replacement scrum half Hugh Lewis (Grove) and pacy full back George Blewitt (Chinnor) once each.

Millett converted two of the tries and kicked three penalties as Oxfordshire showed a ruthless streak by adding points whenever they got the opportunity once the match was won.

Fly half Dan Burke (King Edward VI School, Stratford) also landed a penalty when he took over the kicking duties late on to complete an emphatic win.

Warwickshire’s points came from a penalty from fly half Tyler Price (Nuneaton), which cancelled out Millett’s opening effort  and a try from Josh McNulty (Broadstreet), their tight-head prop and captain, from a line-out drive eight minutes before half time.

In Pool One Leicestershire made an impressive start to their Shield campaign with an impressive 36-15 win over Cumbria at Carlisle.

Leicestershire had to absorb heavy pressure before they took the lead with a breakaway try from flanker Matthew Bratten (Market Bosworth), which Tom Heggs of South Leicester improved.

Two tries in quick succession from scrum half Joe Lamb (South Leicester) at the end of the first half gave Leicestershire the initiative and a 19-3 lead at the break.

Cumbria reduced the deficit to nine points before Leicestershire were awarded a penalty try midway through the second half.

Wing Blake Turner (South Leicester) and lock Elliott Granger (Market Bosworth) then crossed for further tries, the second of them converted by Heggs.

But Staffordshire were edged out 25-23 by Durham in a lively encounter at West Hartlepool.

Fortunes fluctuated throughout but the match was decided when Staffordshire fly half Dominic Ellerton (Newcastle) was unable to land a touchline conversion after openside flanker Max Hughes (Walsall) crossed for his second try of the match.

Dudley Kingswinford wing Donovan Cascoe-Smile also touched down for Staffordshire, who will host Leicestershire at Lichfield in their next pool match on December 18.