BILL BEAUMONT CUP
Eastern Counties 21
East Midlands 24
Diss’ Steve Hipwell dotted down for Eastern Counties on Saturday, but it was not enough to prevent his side from losing out to their opponents East Midlands.
Despite this being the first time Eastern Counties had taken the field together this season, they started with a bang and it wasn’t long before they were on the scoresheet.
Left wing Ashley Elvers from Cambridge made a 50m break from within his own half to take play close to the line.
Fellow Cambridge team-mate and loose head prop Shane Moynihan ran a great supporting line and barged over the line for the first try after only five minutes, with the extras added by Shelford full-back Simon Hrbeck, giving Eastern Counties a 7-0 lead on the scoreboard.
East Midlands struck back a few minutes later through their hooker Lutui Aleki, following some excellent driving play by the East Midlands pack, narrowing Counties’ lead to 7-5.
East Midlands then took the lead with another try through their forwards, this time lock John Walker dotting the ball down, taking the score to 7-10.
With only five minutes left before half-time, Ahsley Elvers who had been instrumental in the first Counties score, races over from 22m the benefiting of some quick ball and good handling by the home team, Hrbeck converting to take Eastern Counties back in front at 14-10.
It wasn’t long into the second half before Counties were on the score sheet again, this time through Hipwell, who powered his way over the line from 30m out, despite Eastern Counties scrum being under tremendous pressure as it had been all game. Hrbeck making it three kicks from three to put Counties 21-10 in front.
East Midlands narrowed this lead to 21-17 with hooker Aleki picking up a brace of tries, with fly-half Stefan Jones converting.
Counties were then put under enormous pressure by the visitors, who spent much of the last quarter in the home team’s half.
However, it was a mix-up in the lineout by Counties that gifted East Midlands the winning score, with a throw to the front being missed and the ball landing in the hands of giant lock Carl Burgess who dived over the line unopposed to take East Midlands into the lead, Jones adding a conversion to take the score to 21-24.
Counties threw everything they had at the visitors in the last few minutes of the game, but despite East Mindlands losing two players to the sin-bin for high tackles, Counties were unable to find a gap in the visitors defence before the final whistle was blown.
Eastern Counties host Lancashire at Cambridge Universities’ home ground at Grange Road on Saturday (2.15pm).