Staffordshire v Cheshire

Cheshire U16s travelled to Newcastle- Under-Lyme to play neighbouring county Staffordshire in the final U16 match of the 17/18 programme.

Cheshire had an ill-disciplined start the match, giving away several consecutive penalties, giving Staffordshire the early upper hand with territory. Much to the amount pressure a turnover by Chester’s Will Barton saw the hooker run 20 plus meters before offloading to the loose head Shaw who went another 20 plus meters down field. After good work from Williams on the wing, the resultant phase play enabled Cheshire to take the lead with an early try.

Cheshire failed to exit their half from the resulting kick off by giving away a penalty for holding on, but Staffordshire missed the kick, allowing Cheshire to clear their lines. Good work at the line out by Mills and Piasecki gave Cheshire large amounts of early possession. From which Hoskins and Vita were able to orchestrate several phases allowing Cheshire to build the pressure through carries from Clark, Wallis and others to eventually score another try.

Despite good counter attacking play from Simcock and Hill, Staffordshire large territorial gains from Cheshire penalties. Cheshire began to lose momentum in the game especially with Vitta coming off, meaning Hoskins had to debut at fly-half with Manger on at scrum-half.  In spite of the robust defensive efforts from Mills, Jones, Flynn and Ellam; Staffs eventually wore down the Cheshire defence to cross to the whitewash to score.

With Cheshire sticking the resultant kick off long, Staffs looked to attack from deep but tackling from Taylor, Barton, Shaw and Clarke resulted in Cheshire turning over the ball. Carries from Wallis, Flynn, Hoskins and Jones were not able to break the Staffs defence. Although from a turnover Staff looked to clear the ball down field, but pressure from several Cheshire players resulted in a charge down, with the ball landing nice in the dead ball area to allow the pacey Williams to score.

After the whistle went to start the second period, Staffs made wholesale changes to much reward.  Staffs worked an 8-9-14 from a scrum that any national league team would be proud of, allowing their winger to touch down without being touched from 40 meters out.

Stylianou and Hetherington were brought off the bench and made valid contributions to the attack and defence of Cheshire. Despite their efforts Staffs scored another quick score to add an air of tension to the match and pressure to the Cheshire side.

Dominant tackles from the ever present Mills, Jones and Shaw halted several momentum building attacks from Staffs. A slight tactical tweak from coaches Elliot and Yorke saw Cheshire become more direct with their play with well-constructed mauls and good direct running, allowing Cheshire to get over the gain line. The introduction off the bench of Edge-Spedding, Conboy and Zheng added much needed energy to the Cheshire performance. Their added input allowed Cheshire to add a further score to their match tally.

Cheshire capped the game off with good work at the break down from Piasecki, Hetherington, Pratt and Stylianou to build the pressure on the Staffs defence to allow a further score out wide. FT.

From all the staff, we cannot thank the players enough. Their commitment to their own development has been fantastic to see and we wish them well in the future programmes. A hugely deserved mention and thank you to all the parents involved in getting the boys to training and matches, without your input county rugby would not exist. Thanks to Noel Speed and his staff for their input throughout the county season.  Lastly, a very special mention to Bob Davies who has gone above and beyond to ensure the coaches, players and other partners have got the most out of this county season.
C Yorke