North Midlands made an impressive start to their National Under-20 Championship campaign with a 60-26 win over a lively Buckinghamshire side at Dudley
Kingswinford’s Heathbrook ground today.
A first half hat-trick of tries from Newport centre Falemaka Vave set North Midlands on their way to victory against a spirited Buckinghamshire side who
contributed to an entertaining free-flowing contest.
Buckinghamshire were a threat in attack but they struggled to contain the threat of Vave and North Midlands wings Matt Dight (Birmingham & Solihull) and
Charlie Grimes (Luctonians) who impressed behind a solid pack.
Vave crossed for his first try after four minutes and Dight added the conversion before crossing himself for a superb individual try from long range.
Vave’s second soon followed after he finished off a patient attack and Grimes powered over to secure the bonus point after just 30 minutes.
Vave completed his hat-trick after 35 minutes before Buckinghamshire pulled back seven points with a converted try.
North Midlands suggested that they did not think the match was won as Dight opted to kick for goal in the final play of the first half.
The lead was extended four minutes after the break when Stourbridge scrum-half Ben Tibbetts rounded off a superb counter-attack from the North Midlands’ 22.
Centre Will Davies (Church Stretton) carved the gap and Tibbetts managed to roll over in the tackle to dot the ball down.
With a 41-7 lead, North Midlands took the opportunity to make changes and they lost a little shape as a consequence. Buckinghamshire capitalised by scoring
two tries in as many minutes, the second direct from the re-start, which reduced the gap to 20 points.
But North Midlands snuffed out the fightback with another sustained attack which created space for hooker Ellis Moysey of Newport to barrel over.
Matt Eddison of Harper Adams University took North Midlands past 50 points when he was driven over from a line out and Dight banged over the extras to take
his own haul to 21 points.
North Midlands were not finished and further pressure enabled Whitchurch full-back Rob Leighton to cross for their ninth try.
Buckinghamshire secured a try bonus point for their efforts with the final play of the match.
The win puts North Midlands firmly on course for a place in the national quarter-final. They play East Midlands at Kettering in their final group match on February 26.