Warrington u19 29 Chester u19 17
WARRINGTON booked a cup final spot after beating Chester in a tough semi final.
Chester's battle-hardened army rolled into Walton Lea early this afternoon looking focused and determined.
Their squad looked physical and were physical in the opening encounters taking the game to Warrington as they had done in the previous encounter where they came out on top.
There have been some epic battles over the last couple of seasons and it’s fair to say through club, county, school and the Sharks’ academy both sets of players and coaches have developed a sense of mutual respect.
But this was a must-win to not only a place in the final but also into the next stage of the cock of the north competition and the lads from Warrington stood up physically and mentally to secure the result.
Warrington played some characteristic quick tempo rugby at the start but were too loose and isolated in contact and were penalised too many times gifting the opposition possession, territory and three early points.
Chester continued to battle hard sending runners short off rucks and mauls.
Warrington’s defence needed a little kick and as a result Chester's speedy and direct backs scored a well-worked try on the right to go 0-10 up.
The difference with this game compared to the last was the reaction of the Warrington teammates.
There was no panic just a collective will to sort the game plan out and get started.
Rory Booth was a constant threat in the right channel and almost put Cam Lewis in the corner by a great Chester cover tackle.
But the tide had turned against the visitors and the next wave of Warrington attack saw Joe Wilson get on the end of some direct running to bag their first try to turn around 5-10.
With the fresh breeze now in Warrington's favour Chester lost some momentum. Warrington slipped into another gear as some slick hands for Joe Wilson to score try number two, converted by Riley.
Although the error count was still too high, Warrington started to control and assert themselves at the set piece.
More direct play led to a lineout and a strong catch and drive from 10m taken over the line by Ryan Preston But the visitors were not done yet and exploited some sloppy kick off play to take the ruck to within 10m of the Warrington line.
Although Warrington won the contact some audacious play by the visitors saw them 'steal' a cheeky ball out of the back of a ruck to score a second try.
It's fair to say that this more than irritated the Warrington lads who reacted strongly to send centre Pete Edwards through on a strong run for try number four.
As the clock ticked down Warrington used the wind and played the corners pinning Chester down in their own 22.
Ryan Preston aided by the rest of his forward cohort marched another lineout across the Chester line to end the game 27-19.
This sees Warrington through to a second final in a couple of week’s time and a very strong chance of reaching a third in the cock of the north finals too.
Tries by Joe Wilson, two, Ryan Preston, two, Peter Edwards, conversions Jacob Riley, Ben Hockenhull.