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Home > News > London and Midlands second day winners at U16 Festival
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Your News London and Midlands second day winners at U16 Festival

LONDON & South East and the Midlands wrapped up wins on the final day of the Under 16 Divisional Festival at Broadstreet RFC near Coventry today.

London completed a successful tournament by crushing the South West 23-10, their second successive victory in the Festival, while the Midlands bounced back from Fridays defeat by London to edge out the North 29-24 in a thriller.

Londons win in the opener may have been emphatic but they conceded the first try of the last day when South West winger Tom Howe (RGs High Wycombe and Buckinghamshire) crossed after just three minutes.

But London again had power up front and pace behind the scrum and they eased into a 24-5 half time lead.

Lock Lorcan Dow (London Oratory and Middlesex) demonstrated pace and power when he broke free and clattered through some flimsy tackling for the equalising try. Fly-half Xander Connabeer (South Dartmoor CC and Devon) added the conversion to give London a lead that they were not to lose.

Dows second row colleague Thomas Kynge (Abingdon School and Oxfordshire) was not to be outdone and he drove over for a close range try followed by number eight Alexander Lundberg (Hampton School and Middlesex) from a line-out drive.

Hooker Archie Faulks (St Pauls School and Middlesex) completed the first half scoring when London worked an overlap but the South West again settled better at the start of the second half.

Replacement centre Callum King (Thomas Hardye School and Dorset & Wilts) crossed three minutes after the re-start, rounding off a fluent handling move, but that score only served to rouse London.

Winger Joss Linney (Uppingham School and Hertfordshire) scored two tries in three minutes, first popping up on the left wing then the right, both of them expertly converted by Connabeer despite a strong wind.

Faulks had the last word when he drove over from a line-out 15 minutes from time to complete a successful tournament for London.

The Midlands also leaked an early try to North prop Rondene Johnson (Mirfield GS and Yorkshire) but they recovered quickly.

Left wing and captain Colin Dickson (Ellesmere College and North Midlands) again impressed by sprinting over for his second try of the Festival to level the scores four minutes later.

That try was eclipsed by a stunning try from right wing Josh Skelcey (Queensbury School and East Midlands) who sliced clean through from long range for another unconverted score.

Skelcey and fly-half Clark Davison (Bedford School and East Midlands) then combined superbly but full-back Matt Goodall (Bishop Veseys GS and North Midlands) could not round off the move.

But the Norths defence was found wanting when Midlands centre Charlie Esam (Bedford School and East Midlands) cut through from a line-out with Davison adding the conversion.

Three minutes later Midlands scrum-half George Tressider (QEGS Ashbourne and Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire) chipped through, controlled the ball and dotted down for the Midlands fourth try, which Davison again improved.

But the North were a transformed side after the break and staged a stirring fightback. Scrum-half Harry Skelton (Sedbergh School and Yorkshire) crossed after a period of sustained pressure and the Midlands needed Esams second try after 45 minutes to stay in front.

Full-back Tom Hudson (Wilmslow HS and Cheshire) hit the line at pace and breached the Midlands defence for try that fly-half Craig Willis (St Michaels School and Durham) converted.

A brilliant individual try from left wing Sean Brown (Prudhoe School and Durham) and who gathered a loose ball and raced 60 metres proved a fitting end to the Festival.

The England selectors will now choose three squads to play a series of internationals in April.

England Under 16s will play Italy Under 17s at Macclesfield on April 20 and Wales Under 16s at Fylde on April 24.

England will also have two Under 16 sides in action at the Wellington Festival at Wellington College in Berkshire from April 16 to 22.

Preparation for those matches will begin with training camps at Abingdon School (February 22-25) and Stowe School (March 4-6).

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