Eastern Counties preserve Division One status

editorial image

Bury St Edmunds players Sam Bixby, Josh Walker and Gary Andrews were in the Eastern Counties squad which preserved Bill Beaumont Cup RFU county championship division one status at the expense of Yorkshire on Saturday.

Eastern Counties won 45-33 at Grange Road, Cambridge, the result sending the visitors down.

With both teams having lost their opening two games, Counties had to win to avoid the drop, Yorkshire having the better points difference.

Yorkshire took an early lead through Rikki Stout, but Counties hit back with three tries in a five-minute spell from John Wedlock (Beccles), Mike Gillick (Cambridge) and Patrick Calvert (Cambridge University).

Simon Hrbek (Shelford) converted all three to give Counties a 21-7 interval lead.

Counties lost George Bretag-Norris (Cambridge) to the sin bin early in the second half, and Yorkshire drew level with a penalty try and a try from Simon Frewin, both converted by Greg Lound.

Counties struggled in the scrum, David Langley (Cambridge) getting a yellow card.

Yorkshire chose not to kick the penalty, and from the scrum Jake Brady went over in the corner to put Yorkshire 26-21 ahead.

Hrbek reduced the arrears with a penalty before Matthew Smith (Colchester) ran 40 metres to score, Hrbek converting.

Soon after Hrbek chased a kick from Joe Tarrant (Ampthill), converting his own try to put Counties 38-26 up.

The final try went to Counties captain Red Newberry, Hrbek completing a perfect afternoon with the conversion for 45-26.

Yorkshire were awarded a second penalty try, Lound converting, but too late to save the game.

Eastern Counties: Sisa Niqisima (Cambridge), Patrick Calvert (Cambridge Uni), James Armitage (Shelford), George Bretag-Norris (Cambridge), Josh Walker (Bury St Edmunds), Red Newberry (Shelford, captain), Sam Bixby (Bury St Edmunds), John Wedlock (Beccles), Mike Gillick (Cambridge), Nico Defeo (Cambridge), Lawrence Hutchinson (Cambridge), Joe Tarrant (Ampthill), Matt Smith (Colchester), Simon Hrbek (Shelford), James Stokes (Cambridge).mReplacements: Joe Winter (Shelford), David Langley (Cambridge), Andrew Hutchison (Shelford), Louis Rawlings (Cambridge), Aki Lea (Shelford), Gary Andrews (Bury St Edmunds), Tom Lucas (Shelford).