East Midlands miss out on home National U20 Championship quarter-final
RFU National U20 Championship: Eastern Counties 22 East Midlands 3
Powerful, positive running brought three tries, and some determined defence earned Eastern Counties a 22-3 victory over East Midlands in their RFU National U20 Championship clash at Sudbury on Sunday.
Victory left unbeaten Counties top of their qualifying group and earned them a deserved home quarter-final tie, while East Midlands now face a trip to Yorkshire in the quarter-finals.
A number of local players were involved in both teams with Eastern Counties numbering Shaq Meyers (Ampthill) and Matthew Norfol-Clarke (Bedford Blues) in their ranks, and the East Midlands Brandon Lewis (Luton), Ryan Taylor (Bedford Ath), Haydn Edwins (Ampthill), Scott Arroyo-Hover (Bedford Ath) and Ryan Brett-Williams (Bedford Colts) in their starting XV, with Josh Taylor (Bedford Colts), Will Dyer (Bedford Colts), Nick Thomas (Bedford Ath) and Stefan Hughes-Brand (Bedford Ath) on the bench.
Falling behind to a 13th minute penalty, Eastern Counties gradually took a grip on the game, East Midlands only looking a threat in the closing minutes when the match was already beyond them.
Captain Mayers (Ampthill) scored the opening try for Eastern Counties after 24 minutes as the hosts eased to victory.
Eastern Counties: Toby White (Culford School), Austin Beckett (Sudbury), Shaq Meyers (Ampthill), Jamie Cooke (Bury St Edmunds), Connor Austin (Colchester), Harry Stenton (Thetford), Harry Winch (Peterborough Lions), Simon Uzokwe (Ipswich), Sam Maile (Bury St Edmunds), Sean Davis (Bury St Edmunds), Matthew Norfol-Clarke (Bedford Blues), Joe Brock (Diss), Sam Harry (Cambridge), Sam Bixby (Bury St Edmunds), Malcolm Onsando (Culford School). Replacements: Chas Hays-Burt (Colchester), Alex Twigge (Thetford), Aaron Cole (Holt), David Micklethwaite (Norwich), Tom Jackson (Holt), Tom Williams (Peterborough), Will Dodds (West Norfolk).
East Midlands: Brandon Lewis (Luton), Joe Cantell (Stockport), Nathan Donachie (Nottingham Trent University), Jordan Husband (Cambridge), Julian Heasman (Loughborough Uni), Ben Penfold (Cambridge), Alex Smit (Coventry), Ryan Taylor (Bedford Ath), Jack Allen (Old Northamptonians), George Stuffins (Peterborough), Haydn Edwins (Ampthill), Scott Arroyo-Hover (Bedford Ath), Ryan Brett-Williams (Bedford Colts), Louis Rawlings (Cambridge), Conor Gracey (Cambridge). Replacements: Josh Taylor (Bedford Colts), Will Dyer (Bedford Colts), Nick Thomas (Bedford Ath), Stefan Hughes-Brand (Bedford Ath), Rowan Cooke (Old Northamptonians), Thorne Gladwin (Towcestrians).