Beds win four-team showdown

Bedfordshire U14s became East Midlands champions after a four-team tournament with Northants Alliance, East Northants and Hunts & Peterborough at Daventry.

The first game against Northants Alliance ended 15-0 to Beds thanks to tries from Ewan Starling, Peter Kimondo and Dominic Hammond.

Beds then took on Hunts & Peterborough, winning 7-0 as Joe Brazier’s strong run was rewarded with a try, and Starling converted.

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The decider saw Beds face East Northants, and a tight affair was won by Starling’s penalty. A strong second half defensive performance saw Phillip Ackuaku make tackle-after-tackle, while Freddie Maxwell made a fine block as Northants looked to cross the line, as Beds were crowned champions.

The youngsters had been 26-15 winners over East Northants at Kettering RFC last Wednesday night.

Beds found themselves 5-0 down after a few minutes, but they grew into the game before half time as Starling dummied his way over the line and then converted to make it 7-5.

In the second period, Ben Slawinski started to control the game and a flowing move saw Dominic Hammond touch down, with Starling adding the extras.

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East Northants came back strong to cross the line and reduce the gap to 14-10, but Beds hit back quickly as Harry Sawford-Smith went over and Starling kicked his side 21-10 in front. Beds then decided to use East Northants’ tactics and stuffed the ball up their jumpers as Bradley Cook crossed the line, meaning that their opponents’ late score was a mere consolation.

Head coach Lee Allen said: “Five months ago, we brought together a team from across Bedfordshire and the team has bonded well and developed into what has proven to be worthy champions.

“I’m very proud of the achievements and would like to thank the players, mums, dads, guardians and coaching staff for their commitment and support.”

Squad: Joe Brazier (Dunstablians), Harry Sawford-Smith, Renier DeBeer (Biggleswade), Angus Dunbar, Freddie Wotton, Mitchell Ward, Cameron Furneaux, Bradley Cook, Geordie Milligan,George Cave, William Lowe, Jacob Ives (Bedford Junior Blues), Mike Batty, Toby Clarke, Adam Jones, Thomas Belt, Ben Slawinski, Callum Hobart, Carter O’Connell, Lewis McCracken, Jamie Prosser (Ampthill), Adam Stacey, Ewan Starling, Ben Savage, Dominic Hammond (Leighton Buzzard), Ben Allen, Phillip Ackuaku, Peter Kimondo, Kacper Franczak, Gareth Mendes-Lewis (Stockwood Park), Freddie Maxwell (Hitchin), Callum Cunnigham (Luton), Matteo Sarro.