Sunday 31st March saw Nottingham, Lincolnshire & Derbyshire host Lancashire in the quarter final of the U20s Jason Leonard Cup. Having played the red roses in the final of the B Division last year the team knew what quality opposition they would face.
Seven Melbourne players represented the three counties - Chris Rudkin, Ben Dickinson, John Cooke-Rogers, Josh Beech, Jack Brough, Matt Suddaby and Thomas Watson.
NLD U20s have had a fantastic tournament and there was a real buzz and excitement about the ground ahead of kick off. The game swung both ways with NLD starting very positively and claiming the first try before Lancashire managed to make the most of a brutal and ultimately injury ravaged 20 minute period building a score of 27 - 7 by half time.
With pride at stake and a squad brimming with capability the players were challenged with delivering a second forty that was an honest and true reflection of themselves.
The second half was all about NLD as they took a firm grip of the game and delivered a bruising and brilliant performance leading 27 - 28 with minutes remaining on the clock. The red roses looked worried and NLD caused real concern and questions of the opposition. It wasn't meant to be however as Lancashire claimed the win with a final score that NLD couldn't match.
All Melbourne players were a real credit to the club and themselves. Given their young age, most at 19 - 17, they will undoubtedly continue to contribute to the NLD u20s programme in the next year or two to come.
Updated 20:37 - 7 Apr 2019 by Andrew Jansen