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Home > News > Leicestershire reach National U20 semi final
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Your News Leicestershire reach National U20 semi final
15
MAR

LEICESTERSHIRE booked their place in the semi-finals of the National Under 20 Championship by beating Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire 31-28 in a thrilling Midlands final at Webb Ellis Road in Rugby this evening.

A late penalty from fly-half Tom Moxon (Loughborough Students), which bounced in off the right hand post, was all that divided the sides in a compelling contest.

It was also a match of contrasting styles with NLD again inspired by full-back Jim Wigglesworth (Hull) and Leicestershire relying on their dominant pack to assume control in the second half.

The biggest gap between the sides was eight points when NLD’s left wing Will Ward (Kesteven) scored the first of his two tries late in the first half.

But Leicestershire, the defending Midlands champions, proved tenacious opponents and they were ahead within ten minutes of the restart.

Loosehead prop Ewan Bartlett (Loughborough) crossed from close range to round off an impressive forward drive then Moxon scored an opportunist try when NLD failed to gather his chip through and the ball rebounded into his arms.

Moxon converted his own try and then added a penalty but NLD set up a thrilling finale when Wigglesworth, outstanding throughout the tournament, threaded an inch perfect grubber kick for Ward to score his second try which fly-half James Stokes converted from the touchline to level the scores at 28-28.

Extra time loomed until NLD were penalised for collapsing a maul and Moxon landed the winning penalty to send Leicestershire through to the semi-finals in their 125thanniversary season.

The first half was a see-saw affair with blindside flanker James Price (Newark) crossing for the opening try for NLD after Wigglesworth had opened up Leicestershire’s defence.

Stokes converted but Leicestershire were level within two minutes when superb inter-play between forwards and backs produced a lovely try for scrum-half Tom Hogarth (Loughborough) which Moxon improved.

Stokes then kicked three penalties and Moxon two which nudged NLD into the lead before Ward came off his wing to score on the stroke of half time.

Leicestershire, under their new coaching team of Nottingham prop Mike Holford and Leicester Lions wing Gareth Collins, regrouped during the interval and used their solid scrum and effective driving maul to stifle NLD’s challenge.

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