Saturday, 6 May 2017

National u20s Championship Final @ Moseley RFC

Cheshire 29 v 20 Dorset & Wilts.

The Twin Counties youngsters came up against a well-drilled Cheshire side, which possessed the strongest front five forwards that the Dorset & Wilts u20s had found themselves up against in this season’s competition.

 Dorset & Wilts made the worst possible start, conceding a try almost directly from the kick off and receiving the ball.  An attempted clearance kick was charged down, with Cheshire fly half Josh Morris reacting quickest, pouncing on the loose ball to touch down for a try and then slot the conversion to put his team into a seven points to nil lead.  A few minutes later, and before Dorset & Wilts had mounted a significant attack, Morris converted a penalty to add another three points to his team’s tally.

Dorset & Wilts managed to win some useful possession and pressured Cheshire into mistakes, with centre Rhodri Hopkins opening the Twin Counties account with two successful penalty kicks.

Although the Dorset &Wilts team had the edge in the lineout, the Cheshire pack now had their Dorset & Wilts counterparts under pressure in the set scrum; and, following a series of plays, Cheshire crossed again for their second try, with Morris again converting.

Then three minutes before the break, Dorset & Wilts scrum half Ciaran Johnston broke clear and weaved his way past floundering defenders to touch down for a try; and, with Hopkins landing the conversion, the Twin Counties were very much back in the game.

Going into the second half 17 points to 13 down, the Twin Counties were soon in trouble again, defending on their own try line,  Replacement Sam Vivan was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes, deemed responsible for deliberately killing the ball at a ruck by referee Alex Thomas.  Now a man down and desperately defending their own line, Mr Thomas penalised Dorset & Wilts. again, awarding Cheshire a penalty try that was duly converted by Morris.  In the 50th minute Cheshire scored a fourth try to make the score Cheshire 29 points to Dorset & Wilt’s 13.

The Twin Counties needed to score and went close on two occasions.  Then in the 63rd minute it was Johnston again who latched on to a loose ball and outsprinted the covering defenders to touch down, with Hopkins adding the extras.

With time running out Cheshire managed the game, penning Dorset & Wilts inside their own half with accurate kicking, and time just ran out for Dorset & Wilts.

This was far from a poor performance from a young Dorset & Wilts. team with six players still at school.  They found themselves up against a team on average about a year a man older.  If they can keep this squad of players together they will come good - this was their first defeat this season and it came in a national cup final.

  1. Hayden Wilson
  2. Matthew Goddard
  3. Jesse Outlaw
  4. James Fisher
  5. Sam Bailey
  6. James Hill
  7. Jared Cardew
  8. Hamish Renwick (C) 
  9. Ciaran Johnston
10. James Bagguley
11. Lewis Dodds
12. Callum MacTaggart
13. Rhodri Hopkins (VC)
14. Max Clark
15. Carlos Snell
16. Jack Spencer
17. Joe Spiller
18. Loui Giunta
19. Sam Vivian
20. Archie Bourne
21. James Clancy
22. Cody Rowe

Travelling reserves
23. Harrison Wall
24. Archie McEwan


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The Dorset & Wilts Senior XV did not fare much better the previous day, losing their opening RFU County Championship match against Sussex at Crawley RFC by 28 points to 10.  Oliver Wilson scored a try, converted by Sam Baker who also added a penalty.

Idris Martin Freelance Photojournalist
Dorset & Wilts RFU Press Officer.
5 Hanover Road, Weymouth
Dorset DT4 7QP
Tel.01305 776027
Mob. 07774 485186