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Rugby union: Cheshire lift County Championship Shield in thrilling final at Twickenham

CHESHIRE lifted the County Championship Shield after staging a dramatic fightback at Twickenham on Saturday.

CHESHIRE lifted the County Championship Shield after staging a dramatic fightback at Twickenham on Saturday.

Making their second appearance at rugby’s HQ in four seasons, Cheshire faced Hertfordshire in the final after winning all of their three group games.

Hoping to replicate their 2006 success and backed by a couple of hundred supporters, Cheshire started in the worst possible manner.

Two tries and a penalty left them with a mountain to climb, trailing 15-0 at half time.

A Gavin Roberts penalty early in the second period restored some belief in the travelling support and soon Cheshire had drawn level thanks to a tries from second-half substitutes Roberts and prop Derek Salisbury.

Another Roberts penalty nudged Cheshire into the lead before fullback Ben Coulbeck scored in the corner to make it 23-15 with 18 minutes to go.

Patrick Leach capped a fine display at inside centre and completed a memorable fightback with a try.

A shellshocked Hertforshire earned a consolation try late on but it was Cheshire who ended the day in triumph with the final score at 30-22.

Former Chester prop Gavin Woods, who was a substitute in the 2006 final, completed a lifelong ambition by starting Saturday's final.

Woods, 26, said: “It was a great day for us all and is rich reward for everyone’s efforts at training and in the matches.

“Playing for 10 minutes last time at Twickenham was a bit of a disappointment but today certainly makes up for it.

After their success, Cheshire, who train at Chester RUFC, are promoted back to the county’s elite and will contest the Bill Beaumont Cup next season.

 

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