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Jason Leonard Under 20's County Championship Division 2 Pool 4
Match report by Richard V Isaacs


A heavily depleted Hampshire's Under 20s side bowed out of the Jason Leonard Under 20 County Championship as they fell to a 22-6 away defeat to Dorset and Wiltshire.

Injuries, unavailability and one player under a Coronavirus scare saw half of the Hampshire side playing in unfamiliar positions and it rather showed in an awfully disjointed, even rusty performance from both sides.

With Somerset withdrawing from the competition, it was left to the near neighbours to battle it out for the single semi-final place and it looked like nerves got the better of the participants for much of the proceedings.

The first half was a contest of penalties.  Twin Counties fly-half Alex Peel (Lydney) hit the target with three of his four attempts while Hampshire's stand-in 10 Jonah North was successful in his duo of kicks.

But as the half came to its conclusion, Hampshire were finding themselves under intense pressure from the marauding Dorset and Wilts forwards, who were dominating up front.

And the Greens should have extended their interval advantage but knocked-on with the line at their mercy just before the break.

The home side did finally cross the line six minutes into the second half when Bournemouth winger Harry Speer found space out wide to cross, despite a clear forward pass in the build-up.

North did have a chance to narrow the gap but missed with a penalty but Peel didn't shortly afterwards for the hosts.

If Dorset and Wilts could have held onto the ball, they would have been comfortably ahead but twice knocked-on close to the line.

There was no mistake with just five minutes left on the clock which settled the contest.

North's attempted clearance fell kindly for Bournemouth full-back Matt Strong, who weaved his way through the tiring Hampshire defence to seal the victory and the semi-final place.

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