The sun shone, the beer flowed (for the spectators) a superb 3G surface looked pristine and very friendly hosts along with a touch of sunburn made for a great days rugby!
After overcoming a Netherlands U20/A side on Wednesday in a tough physical encounter more of the same was expected of an opponent packed with the younger players of the Dutch Senior National squad.
Undeterred England Counties U20 picked a strong starting XV with a distinctly Northern flavour, indeed all EIGHT North lads started and they all had a major influence on a game that the home side never looked to be capable of winning.
In total 6 of England's 9 tries where registered by the North players 3 for Tom Carleton (Lancashire) 2 for Skipper Chris Taylor (Cheshire) and one from Charlie Venables (Cheshire). Despite the Dutch pack looking bigger and more "chunky" than their English counterparts the all North Front Row of John Whittaker (Cheshire), Taylor and Tight Head Will Dennis (Yorkshire) proceeded to give the hosts a bad day at the office especially in the scrum. With the set-piece dominance the backs could throw the ball around with style and always seemed to have an extra white shirt to take the scoring pass. The England Back Row with Yorkshire's Sam Hudson playing at 7 not only stopped any attacking options for the Dutch but also did their fair share of ball carrying as did Lock Nick Ashcroft (Lancashire) who was unlucky not to add another try to one he scored in the previous game. Centre Connor Wilkinson (Lancashire) was wisely using his handling skills in moving the ball wide where both Venables and Carleton in particular were enjoying themselves. Of course it wasn't just the North lads involved all the England players who got on did themselves proud with No.8 Tui Uri (Eastern Counties), and Flyhalf Fraser Honey (Cornwall) to the fore. The Netherlands stuck to the task and a solitary try was welcomed by the home crowd but it could not prevent England racking up 58 points to the Dutch 8.
North U20s Manager Howard Hughes and North U20 Coach Matt Bebbington were in attendance to see that whilst somethings are "tough up North" picking the best rugby players from the Five counties seems to be pretty good piece of selection, add two U20 County titles by Yorkshire in the Cup & Cheshire in the Shield its been a "belter" of a season.
Have a good summer we'll be back around September with next seasons County U20 Fixtures. #wearethenorth
Netherlands A 8 (1 pen, 1 try)
England Counties U20 58 (1 pen, 9 tries, 5 conversions)
played at RC Waterlands, Purmerend, Holland