Matt Hema scores a brace as Eastern Counties lose a thriller to Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 14:42 21 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:42 21 May 2018
County Championship Division One North
Eastern Counties 24
Eastern Counties look set to beat the drop, despite finishing on the wrong side of this thrilling match.
The home side, boasting players from Bury St Edmunds and Diss as well as Cambridge, Shelford and North Walsham, had much of the early play, with a break by Walsham’s Will Swart setting up good field position, allowing Cambridge’s Matt Hema to surge through the midfield and score. The conversion made it 7-0.
Yorkshire hit back with a penalty, before taking the lead with a converted try just before the break, going in 10-7 to the good.
After the break counties once again took the game to Yorkshire, with the ever-present Steve Hipwell of Diss going on a run, resulting in a penalty and sin bin of a Yorkshire player and the scores being levelled at 10-10.
Unbowed Yorkshire attacked from the restart, taking the play deep into counties’ half and scoring wide out on the right through openside flanker James Tyson to take the score to 15-10 as the conversion was missed.
In a replica of the previous try, Yorkshire scored in the same place, this time by Sam Wilson, to stretch their lead to 22-10.
Eastern Counties struck back with a second try from Hema, converted by Fin Creighton, following some great phase play and a massive drive by Hipwell to narrow the score to 22-17.
Then flowing rugby by counties, starting with a great take at the front of the line by Shelford’s Red Newbury, allowed the ball to be spun quickly to the backs and Cambridge’s James Ayrton raced to the line to score, Creighton adding the extras to retake the lead at 24-22.
Yorkshire had the last word however, with an unconverted try to seal victory with five minutes to play, spinning the ball wide and scoring through Dan Preston-Routeledge to make it 27-24.
Eastern Counties threw the kitchen sink at the visitors in the final minutes of the game, but the Yorkshire defence proved too strong and they were unable to score the try needed to snatch victory.