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Baldwin leads England Counties to win
Wharfedale's Rob Baldwin captained England Counties to victory in the second game of their African Tour.
The tourists defeated Elgon Warriors 39-5 in Kampala, Uganda in what was a classic game of two halves.
It was only 6-5 to England Counties at half-time, despite them having the majority of possession.
The Warriors were physical at the breakdown but missed chances by the men in white meant that they struggled to build phases and put points on the board.
A transformed side emerged after the break and five tries resulted from a strong performance by the forwards and fast, clinical play by the backs.
The boot of debutant Rory Teague (Cinderford) kept England in the game up until the break.
His first penalty, from just inside the Warriors’ half, was scored after eight minutes but it was the Africans who were first to cross the whitewash when Benon Kiiza broke through the English defence.
Both sides continued to concede penalties, which reflected the intensity of the occasion and disrupted the flow of play.
Teague added England’s additional three points on the stroke of half-time to take it to 6-5 but their lead was only the result of the Warriors’ sending two earlier penalties wide.
An improved structure and patient play soon brought results for England in the second half.
Chris Briers (Fylde) cut a great angle off the shoulder of Billy Johnson (Old Albanians) to break the line, and from the resultant play the ball went wide via Tom Wheatcroft for his Ealing Trailfinders team-mate Phil Chesters to touch down in the corner.
Man of the match Teague added the extras and then created Chesters’ second with a crossfield kick which the winger gathered to again go over in the corner.
Johnson scored his second try of the tour and added England’s third.
Baldwin gained ground before good hands from Teague switched the ball back inside for the No 6 to cross the line.
Teague took the score to 25-5 and continued to control the game from fly half.
Steve Hamilton (Yorkshire) and scrum half Harry Peck (Tynedale) made several good breaks but it was the forwards who earned the penalty try after being camped within the five-metre line.
With 70 minutes on the clock, the Elgon Warriors had their first period of sustained second-half possession but with two minutes remaining it was England who added the final points to the board. Jared Saunders (Saracens) drove over the line after a scrum in front of the posts and Will Burton (Luctonians) added the extras.
Counties' head coach Jan Bonney said: “Credit must go to the Elgon Warriors for their committed performance. They are a tough side and really took the game to us.
"In the break, we talked about keeping to our patterns of play and making some technical changes - for example we were taking the ball too high into contact, and against a physical opposition we were then either then making mistakes or being turned over.
“It was a fantastic environment to play in - an amazing experience. The crowd were great and the players thoroughly enjoyed it.
"After the match all the kids came onto the pitch and were dancing around and taking photographs. It was a memorable day for everyone involved.”