Eastern Counties suffer a second home defeat
in the Bill Beaumont Cup ultimately being overpowered by a physical Lancashire side who pulled away in the final quarter to secure a bonus point win.
Eastern Counties were very competitive in the first half and for much of the second, but the simple but effective direct style of the visitors took its toll on the team as the home team tired in the final quarter and were unable to keep Lancashire from scoring late tries.
After some brutal early exchanges where both teams clattered into each other, both defences being equal to the challenge, it was Lancashire who scored through their Hooker Tom Burtonwood to take a 0-5 nil lead after 10mintes of play.
Eastern Counties hit back almost immediately, though the ever-present Steve Hipwell of Diss, with Shelford’s Simon Hrbeck adding the extras to take a narrow lead.
In a seesaw first half Lancashire regained the lead though a try from right wing Scott Armstrong, which was converted by Greg Smith and were on the attach again soon after, but a loose pass in ‘Counties 22m was pounced on by Hrbeck who then races almost the full length of the field to draw the game at 12-12. He then added a penalty kick to his personally tally with a beautiful strike from 45m to push take a narrow 15-12 lead into half time.
After the break Lancashire re-took the lead, which then then held until full time firstly through a catch and drive from a lineout on the home team’s 5m line to take the score to 15-19. They then stretched their lead with inside centre Scott Rawlings on hand to dot down following a great run by left wing Anthony Bingham to push the lead out to 15-24 following a conversion by Smith.
Lancashire’s replacement prop Peter Altham was credited with the try from another catch and drive close to the home side’s line, converted by fullback Lewis Allen taking the score to 15-31, the final score of the game came again through a try from the powerful Lancashire pack, which was converted by Allen, resulting in a final score of 15-38.
After the game ‘Counties Captain Red Newbury praised the Lancashire team for their efforts and said that despite the score line he felt his team had played very well, particularly in the first half and that the team will learn from the experience and take the lessons forward into next week’s game against Yorkshire”
Head Coach Mark Bolton said that he had been impressed by the team’s performance and that they were competitive until the last quarter, but some poor decisions had cost them dearly and would be working with the squad to improve those areas ahead of next week’s game.
Simon Hrbeck (Shelford), Fetuli Paea (Shelford), Matt Hemma (Cambridge), Albert Portstmouth (Cambridge), Ashley Elvers(Cambridge), Ben Penfold(Cambridge), Mike Gillick(Shelford), Miles Anderson(Sheflord), Tob Gardner(Shelford), Shane Moyniham(Cambridge), Tim Bond(Cambridge Uni), Red Newbury Capt (Shelford), Matt Meek(Cambridge), Brian Du Toit(Cambridge Uni), Steve Hipwell(Diss)
Replacements: Dan Reilly(Shelford), Luke Palmer(Bury St Edmunds), Aki Lea(Shelford), Tui Uri(Ipswich), Tom Reid (Cambridge), Jack Harvey(Shelford), Fraser Gillies (Cambridge Uni)
Scores: Steve Hipwell 1T, Simon Hrbeck 1T, 1C, 1P
Lewis Allen(Preston Grasshoppers), Scott Armstrong(Fylde), Christopher Briers(Fylde), Scott Rawlings(Sale FC), Anthony Bingham(Fylde), Greg Smith(Fylde), Sam Stelmaczek(Sale FC), Daniel Birchall(Sale FC), Tom Bunrtonwood(Fylde), Ben Black(Sedgley Tigers), Robert Birtwell(Sedgley Tigers), Reece Tomlinson(Rossendale), Mark Goodrum(Sedgley Tigers), Evan Stewart Capt(Fylde), Tom Ailes(Sale FC)
Replacements: PeterAltham (Preston Grasshoppers), Tom Allan(Rossendale), Alistair Murray(Preston Grasshoppers), Rhys Davies(Sale FC), Niall Crosley(Preston Grasshoppers), Steve Collins(Sedgley Tigers), Christopher Johnson(Sale FC)
Tom Burntwood 1T, Scot Armstrong, 1T, Greg Smith 2C, Lewis Allen 2C, Peter Altham 1T, Scott Rawlings 1T, Anthony Bingham, AN Other 1T
Referee Neil Chilvers (RFU), Assistant Referees Bill Burton, Paul Carroll