Twickenham return for Red Rose

Vital: Second-half replacement Ben Vernon of Tarleton
Vital: Second-half replacement Ben Vernon of Tarleton
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Lancashire are on their way back to Twickenham after another nail-biting northern group game in the county championship.

The holders of the Bill Beaumont Cup booked their return for next Sunday’s final by seeing off Cheshire’s challenge at Broughton Park 36-29.

The neighbouring counties were level at the top of the table going into Saturday’s game.

And it was visitors Cheshire who took the early initiative, despite Fylde’s Chris Briers giving the Red Rose men the lead with the opening try.

Three penalties and an unconverted try to a Chris Johnson penalty, meant that Cheshire led 14-8 at half-time.

But second-half replacement Ben Vernon, of Tarleton, made an immediate impact with Lancashire’s second touchdown, converted by Johnson to regain the lead.

Cheshire replied with a penalty and an unconverted try before Briers grabbed his second touchdown, converted by Johnson, to level the scores at 22-22 going into the final quarter.

Two tries in 10 minutes by Fylde forwards Paul Arnold and Evan Stewart, both converted by Johnson, looked to have seen the holders through.

But a late converted try by Cheshire set up an anxious spell of stoppage time, before the Red Rose fans could book their tickets for Twickenham once more after a 36-29 triumph.

The final is a repeat of last year’s clash with Hertfordshire.

“It was a tense affair that could have gone either way.” said Lancashire coach Mark Nelson.

“We were behind at half-time, but Cheshire picked up a couple of injuries and we had a better bench.”