Hamilton seals victory for bold Tigers to earn East Midlands bragging rights
Leicester 26 Northampton 14
Geordan Murphy lifted the LV Cup at Worcester's Sixways yesterday as Leicester won the battle of East Midlands to claim the first silverware of the English club rugby season and a place in the Heineken Cup.
The match was settled soon after half-time when wing Scott Hamilton sprinted 80 metres after intercepting a pass from Stephen Myler, the Northampton outside-half.
George Ford, Leicester's highly promising teenage No 10 who kicked a match tally of 16 points, had kept the Tigers in touch with three well-struck penalties before flanker Steve Mafi handed them the lead for the first time after 26 minutes.
Myler landed two kicks, the second from from fully 50 metres to give Saints a 6-0 lead after 11 minutes but Leicester then strung together a series of threatening attacks. Again they yielded penalties rather than tries but Ford was equal to the task and pulled his side level. The two fly-halves exchanged penalties again to take the score to 9-9 after 24 minutes, but Leicester deservedly went ahead when Mafi used his strength to barge past wing Vasily Artemyev and score in the left corner.
Saints approached the second half with far more purpose but were penalised for collapsing a scrum and Ford converted from 50 metres to open up a 10-point lead.
Myler then tried to force an opening with a floated pass that only found its way into the hands of left wing Hamilton, who raced from his 22 to score at the other end. Ford converted the 50th-minute try and Leicester were three scores ahead.
Murphy was shown a yellow card as the Saints threw everything at Leicester, but it was not until the 75th minute that their desperate endeavours were rewarded when lock Christian Day muscled his way over.
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