Jason Leonard Under 20’s County Championship Final. Cheshire 29 v Dorset & Wilts 20

The Twin Counties youngsters came up against a well drilled Cheshire side that possessed the strongest front five forwards that Dorset & Wilts had found themselves up against in this season’s competition.

The Combined Counties made the worst possible start conceding a try almost directly from the kick off.

Dorset & Wilts received the ball and an attempted clearance kick was charged down with Cheshire fly half Josh Morris reacting quickest pouncing on the loose ball to touch down for a try and then slot the conversion to put his team into a seven points to nil lead.

Ten Minutes later and before Dorset & Wilts had mounted a significant attack Morris converted a penalty to add another three points to his team’s tally.

Dorset & Wilts managed to win some useful possession and pressured Cheshire into two mistakes with centre Rhodri Hopkins opening the Twin Counties account with two successful penalty kicks.

The Cheshire pack now had their Dorset & Wilts counterparts under pressure in the set scrum and following a series of plays Cheshire crossed again for their second try with Morris again converting.

Three minutes before the break Dorset & Wilts scrum half Ciaran Johnston broke clear and weaved his way past floundering defenders to touch down for a try and with Hopkins landing the conversion the Twin Counties were very much back in the game.

Going into the second half 17 points to 13 down the Twin Counties were soon in trouble again, defending on their own try line, replacement Sam Vivan was dismissed to the sin bin for 10 minutes deemed responsible for deliberately killing the ball at a ruck by referee Alex Thomas.

Now a man down and desperately defending their own line, Mr Thomas awarded Cheshire a penalty try that was duly converted by Morris.

In the 50th minute Cheshire scored a fourth try to make the score Cheshire 29 points to Dorset & Wilt’s 13.

The Twin Counties needed to score and went close on two occasions, then in the 63rd minute it was Johnston again who latched on to a loose ball and outsprint the covering defenders to touch down with Hopkins adding the extras.

With time running out Cheshire managed the game penning Dorset & Wilts inside their own half with accurate kicking and time just ran out for Dorset & Wilts.

This was far from a poor performance from Dorset & Wilts with six players still at school, they found themselves up against a team on average about a year a man older if they can keep this squad of players together they will come good, this was their first defeat this season and it came in a national cup final.

Idris Martin

Freelance Photojournalist - idrismartin.wordpress.com

Dorset & Wilts RFU Press Officer

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By ChrisJones / Editor, bbp_participant on May 07, 2016