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Home > News > National Under 20 Championship – Hampshire, Herts, Kent and Eastern Counties in last four
Your News National Under 20 Championship – Hampshire, Herts, Kent and Eastern Counties in last four

Eastern Counties have joined three of last year’s semi-finalists – Kent, Hertfordshire and Hampshire – in the last four of the London & South East section of the National U20 Championship.

Group A winners Kent will take on Hampshire, and Eastern Counties face Group B table-toppers Hertfordshire, in the region’s semi finals to be played this Sunday (February 26) at Old Merchant Taylors RFC in Northwood, Middlesex.

The recent cold weather disrupted some pool matches, meaning Essex v Middlesex in Group A and Surrey v Sussex in Group B were cancelled.

But in yesterday’s (Sunday February 19) matches Hertfordshire earned a fine 24-7 win away to Hampshire while Kent defeated Eastern Counties 33-18 to settle the semi final line-up, with the winners of Groups A and B meeting the runners-up from B and A respectively.

Hertfordshire were 12-0 up at half-time on the secondary pitch at Basingstoke RFC, with the main stadium pitch out of action.

Flanker James Sonner (Old Albanian) and wing William Hague-Blundy (Fullerians) scored tries with fly half Tom Walsh (Bishop’s Stortford) converting the second of them.

Hampshire's loosehead prop and captain Rob Elsmore (Havant) was driven over from close range five minutes into the second half, with fly half Joel Knight (Havant and UWIC) converting, but the Stags of Hertfordshire scored next when a good penalty kick set up a line-out in the Hampshire 22, the ball was won and spun along the line and full back Nick Foster (Old Albanian) went over at the corner.

A try for Herts by Old Albanians wing Dan Watt converted by Walsh finished the scoring in the last minute.

Hampshire team manager Ed Neville said: "We have a tough game against Kent next week and I feel that we can bounce back from this. There will be players returning to the side which will help.

"Maybe knowing that we had already qualified wasn't ideal but that shouldn't be used as an excuse and we will be working very hard this week to prepare for the regional semi final."

Last season, Hampshire defeated Kent to win the London & South East region and collect the Jason Leonard Trophy, before defeating Leicestershire in the national semi finals and losing to Gloucestershire in the final at Twickenham Stadium.

National U20 Championship 2011-12, London & South East fixtures/results:

Group A

February 19:

Kent 33 Eastern Counties 18 at Old Elthamians

Essex v Middlesex, cancelled

January 22:

Eastern Counties 31 Essex 5 at Colchester

Middlesex 19 Kent 34 at Old Merchant Taylors’

January 8:

Eastern Counties 47 Middlesex 20 at Cambridge

Essex 19 Kent 46 at Thurrock

Group B

February 19:

Hampshire 7 Hertfordshire 24 at Basingstoke

Surrey v Sussex, cancelled

January 29:

Hertfordshire 50 Surrey 8 at Bishop’s Stortford

January 22:

Sussex 17 Hampshire 44 at Chichester

January 8:

Hampshire 37 Surrey 27 at Basingstoke

Hertfordshire 16 Sussex 18 at Old Merchant Taylors’

London & South East semi finals:

February 26 (Old Merchant Taylors’): Kent v Hampshire (12.15pm); Hertfordshire v Eastern Counties (2pm).

London & South East final (winner qualifies for National U20 semi finals):

March 11 (Staines RFC).

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