Eastern Counties bounce back to defeat East Midlands
Good start to county championship
Eastern Counties turned round a half-time deficit to defeat East Midlands 22-19 in the first match of this season’s Bill Beaumont County Championship.
With the early stages dominated by mistakes, Ampthill’s Joe Bercis crossed for the opening try for East Midlands, with Ampthill’s Josh Sharp adding the conversion.
Eastern Counties replied as Sudbury’s Austin Beckett charged down the left wing to touch down, and Cambridge’s Ben Penfold kicked the extras for 7-7.
After Bercis was held up on the line, Ampthill’s Karim Lynch took the crash ball to score, and it stayed 12-7 to East Midlands at half time.
Eastern Counties had the territory and possession early in the second half, and Diss’ Steve Hipwell seized the advantage to touch down for 12-12.
East Midlands had Ampthill’s Loti Molitika sin-binned after 54 minutes, and Eastern Counties made the extra man pay as Shelford’s Redmond Newberry got a try which was converted by Penfold, who then added a penalty to make it 22-12 after 63 minutes.
Newberry and East Midlands’ Carl Burgess were also both shown yellow cards, and there was hope for East Midlands as Ampthill’s Lawrence Rayner created the space to score by the posts in the 74th minute, and the replacement fly-half’s conversion made it 22-19.
Penfold was unable to convert a 76th minute penalty but Eastern Counties kept the hosts at bay to secure victory.
Eastern Counties have the long trip to Sedgley Park to take on Lancashire this Saturday (May 12).