Lancs back at Twickenham

Fylde ace Jordan Dorrington starred for Lancashire
Fylde ace Jordan Dorrington starred for Lancashire
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Lancashire 29 Yorkshire 14

Four tries in 30 minutes set county champions Lancashire on their way to another Twickenham final next Sunday – where, for the third year in a row, their opponents will be Cornwall.

The Red Rose struggled for much of a first half which was littered with handling errors by both sides, despite the perfect playing conditions at Fylde.

But once Steve Collins had replaced injured fly-half Chris Johnson, they took control of the game and eventually ran out comfortable winners.

Yorkshire scored first after 12 minutes when referee Gareth Holsgrove awarded them a penalty try and sin-binned home skipper Evan Stewart for illegally halting a drive for the line.

Johnson had three long-range penalty attempts, but succeeded with only one of them before going off hurt.

A bout of fisticuffs brought two more yellow cards – for Red Rose lock Gareth Rawlings and Yorkshire hooker Ali Thompson – as the first half stuttered along.

But it burst into life on the stroke of half-time when the White Rose line-out malfunctioned right on the hosts’ line and Lancashire worked their way upfield to free winger Jordan Dorrington for the well-taken unconverted try, which gave them the lead for the first time.

After the break, scrum-half Ryan de la Harpe went over following a lengthy siege of the Yorkshire line, an exquisite dummy and pass from Collins put centre Chris Briers in and then Dorrington started and finished the move of the match.

With Yorkshire replacement Dan Solomi in the sin-bin, Dorrington gathered the ball, facing his own line, inside the Red Rose 22 and tore through a spread-eagled defence for 60 metres before linking with his former schoolteacher Stewart, who unselfishly gave a return pass for the winger to touch down again.

Collins converted all three tries and Yorkshire’s only reply was a last-ditch consolation try by full-back Lewis Minikin, converted – like the penalty try – by Joe Bedford.

Lancashire head coach Mark Nelson said: “Yorkshire came at us in the first half and, especially when we were down to 14 men, it wasn’t particularly easy.

“But we made some technical adjustments, improved our discipline and got the go-forward.

“It’s been a very tough campaign – we had to win two difficult away matches – and I’m glad we turned it on for the fans in our only home game, with some good traditional Lancashire rugby.

“It might have been a bit nip and tuck at half-time but we came out and played some real quality rugby.

“I don’t think we played particularly poorly in the first half, just that certain things didn’t stick at crucial times.

“Chris Johnson did well in attack and defence but Steve Collins is sharp and he brought players onto the ball. It’s good to have that sort of balance in the matchday 22.”

As for Dorrington, he was, said the coach: “Outstanding – he looks a very high-level player”, while the 21-year-old himself said he was looking forward to playing at Twickenham for the first time – a ground that should ideally suit his dynamic running skills.