Winnington Park u18 34-24 Altrincham Kersal u18

DAVE Allcock has said that a decision to focus on improving young players is starting to pay dividend after another team prevailed in a semi-final.

Winnington Park’s senior colts progressed to the Cheshire RFU Plate final, when they meet Birkenhead Park this afternoon, following a stirring second-half recovery against Altrincham Kersal.

It means four junior teams from Burrows Hill will contest a county knockout final this season.

“We made a choice to invest in that part of the club so there was a production line of talent into our senior sides,” said Allcock, Park's director of rugby.

The hosts were able to name three players – George Hyde, Cameron Heron and Jamie Hawes – who have been selected for Cheshire’s under 18s squad this season.

Two more, Archie Sanchez and Sam Houghton, have made their debut for the first team during the current campaign.

And Park, undeterred by facing opponents who had finished first at the level above in the North West Colts League, took the lead after wing Harry Lowe charged down a clearance before collecting the ball and racing to the line.

Hyde’s conversion attempt was successful.

The hosts added to their advantage when Lewis Gibson, their other wide man, went over in the corner before Altrincham replied with two tries of their own – adding extras on one occasion – to reach the interval on level terms.

And the away side carried that momentum into the second-half, establishing a 24-12 lead that jolted Park into lift.

Quick thinking by Hyde led to him crossing in the corner before he helped himself to two more scores, completing a personal treble, during a remarkable turnaround.

A strong run by Heron led to a final try, which was converted, to add gloss to the result.

“It was a fantastic team performance against very strong opponents,” said coach Steve Berg.

“The lads have worked hard; it’s an excellent group of players who can all make the grade at senior level here.”

The final takes place at Caldy, kick-off 1.30pm.

Meanwhile Winnington Park’s under 14s, under 15s and under 16s all resume their bids to end the season holding a trophy when they contest county knockout finals seven days later.