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Home > News > Midlands pair exit U20 competitions
Your News Midlands pair exit U20 competitions

MIDLANDS interest in the National Under 20 competitions ended with defeats for North Midlands in the quarter-finals of the Championship and Leicestershire in the last eight of the Shield this afternoon.

North Midlands went down 36-24 to a powerful Lancashire side at Liverpool St Helens and Leicestershire were beaten 25-10 by Oxfordshire at Gosford All Blacks.

North Midlands were unsettled by late cry-offs and they also struggled to cope with the dynamic running of Lancashire full-back Curtis Strong (Fylde) who ran in two brilliant individual second half tries.

But North Midlands stuck to their task gamely and they finished the stronger side with replacement scrum-half Will Harris (Stourbridge) and left wing Andy Oakden (Whitchurch) both crossing for tries in the final quarter.

The accurate place kicking of fly-half Tom Biggs (Worcester Wanderers) also impressed and North Midlands required some long relieving kicks from Biggs to lift the Lancashire siege in the first half.

Lancashire were 10-0 up inside eight minutes after lock Charlie Cook rumbled over from close range followed by number eight Sam Peet.

Biggs trimmed the deficit with an 18th minute penalty but Lancashire continued to dominate hooker Tom Burtonwood went over from close range for their third try after 23 minutes which fly-half Lewis Allen improved.

North Midlands needed a try early in the second half if they were to deny Lancashire. Instead Lancashire right wing Connor Trueman raced over from his own 22 after North Midlands kicked away possession and Strong jinked through some flimsy tackling from the re-start.

Birmingham & Solihull hooker Finlay Sinclair rewarded North Midlands for a period of sustained pressure and Biggs added the extras but Strong but the issue beyond doubt when he went over for another brilliant solo effort.

North Midlands played their best rugby in the final quarter with Harris darting over from close range after Lancashire lost control at a scrum close to their own line.

Oakden then a perfect line and went through for the third try but further pressure in the last five minutes went unrewarded.

Leicestershire also fought back bravely in the second half against a well-drilled Oxfordshire side and scored two tries from centre Mitch Lamb of Lutterworth.

But the damage had already been done before the break and Oxfordshire now progress to the semi-finals on April 21.

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