CHESHIRE just missed out on a place in the final of the County Championship for the Bill Beaumont Trophy despite beating Lancashire in their third Northern Group One clash at Macclesfield at the weekend.

It finished 20-13 in favour of Cheshire but the single bonus point collected by Lancashire for keeping the margin of defeat to only seven points was just enough to give them top place in the group.

They will meet the Southern Group winners Cornwall at Twickenham on Sunday to decide the title.

Cheshire showed excellent form in a defence dominated affair. Each county scored one try. Cheshire also managed five penalties whilst Lancashire were additionally restricted to one conversion and a brace of penalties in a keen encounter.

The Twickenham dream for Cheshire looked a distinct possibility when they led 20-10 after seventy minutes. One more score would have been sufficient but alas it was Lancashire who struck with a late kick by Chris Johnson.

Lancashire finished with eleven points at the head of the Northern group. Cheshire had ten with Yorkshire third on eight and Durham fourth.

The Cheshire starting line-up included J.J.Dickinson, Dom Kohler, Christian Jones, Jon Sewell who scored the try and Harry Broadbent from Caldy, Danny Rich and Matt Ibbotson from Birkenhead Park and Joe Murray from Wirral. Caldy’s Derek Salisbury and Tom Sanders were on bench duty.

Cornwall clinched the Southern Group with a 41-29 success over Herts in the third game.

Broadbent and Adam Kettle from Doncaster Knights who formerly played on the Wirral will represent Cheshire in the England Counties squad to tour Belgium in the near future.

Meanwhile, best wishes go to New Brighton breakaway forward Joe Sale who played his last game for the club in the victory over Orrell recently.

Fijian Joe played for four seasons for the Blues. Work commitments are taking him away from the area to Hampshire.