Lutui’s two spark Midlands revival
E Counties ............ 21 East Mids ............ 24
EAST MIDLANDS came from 21-10 down to earn a narrow victory over Eastern Counties in their opening Bill Beaumont Cup game.
Aleki Lutui scored twice with Carl Burgess getting the vital try in the 69th minute before the lock was one of two East Midlands players to be shown a yellow card.
With Sam Baker and Burgess both in the sinbin, East Midlands finished the game with just 13 men but held on for the 24-21 success.
Shane Moynihan opened the scoring for Counties after just four minutes, his try converted by Simon Hrbeck, before Lutui responded.
Josh Walker was able to touch down from the back of a driving lineout to move East Midlands ahead but Steffan Jones missed the conversion.
Ashley Elvers and Steve Hipwell, with a strong break from midfield, put the home side in control at 21-10 ahead.
A knock-on saw the visitors miss out on a try but Lutui was able to bag his second before Burgess stole a Counties lineout for the crucial score.
East Midlands made the most of their stronger bench as the hosts tired but that didn’t prevent Burgess and Baker being shown yellow cards for high tackles. But Counties couldn’t find a way over and it was the visitors who left triumphant.