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Gloucestershire through to Championship semi-finals

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 02, 2014

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Cornwall Under-20s 19

Gloucestershire Under-20s 50

Gloucestershire were too good for Cornwall and eased through to the semi-finals of rugby's National Under-20 Championship.

The Gloucestershire backs scored all seven of their tries with Ed Sheldon touching down for a hat-trick and Dan Spencer-Tonks for two.

The powerful Cornish pack monopolised possession early on but the Gloucestershire defence was well organised and kept their line intact.

As the first quarter ended Gloucestershire at last escaped into the Cornish half and centre Spencer-Tonks took a crash ball from a quick penalty five metres out to score the opening try.

Jack Skelton’s conversion was blown wide by the wind but he made amends by converting a second try five minutes later.

Spencer-Tonks broke through midfield in his own half and fed wing Ed Sheldon, who outstripped the Cornish defence to score wide out.

Although the Cornwall lineout failed to function, their forwards mauled and recycled well and after concerted attacking on the Gloucestershire line full-back Jack Kessell scored a try.

The conversion hit an upright but from the restart the dynamic Gloucestershire backs broke through again and Spencer-Tonks charged through a gap in midfield to score close to the posts.

Skelton kicked the extras for a 19-5 half-time lead.

Outside half Ollie Locke dropped a goal to extend the lead before a quick pass to Sheldon in midfield gave the Thornbury sprinter the chance to run clear.

He beat three men with a swerve, then raced upfield but had too much pace for the covering defenders and scored near the posts. Skelton converted to make it 29-5.

A converted try gave Cornwall hope but Gloucestershire hit back when they were awarded a scrum five metres out.

They shunted the home pack over the line for replacement scrum-half Ollie Young to score with his second touch of the ball.

Another Skelton conversion rubbed salt in the Cornish wounds but the home side added their third try before Sam Hanks cut through the Cornish centres from set-piece and scored the sixth try.

Locke converted before Gloucestershire turned over a Cornish attack out of defence and Sheldon raced in for the final try.

Locke’s conversion brought up the half-century and was closely followed by the final whistle.

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