COLCHESTER'S Matt Smith scored a fine try to help Eastern Counties claim a crucial 45-33 victory over Yorkshire.

The win in Cambridge means Counties will compete in Bill Beaumont Cup RFU county championship division one next season, sending their opponents down in the process.

With both teams having lost their opening two games, Counties had to win to avoid the drop at Grange Road, with Yorkshire boasting the better points difference.

Yorkshire took an early lead through Rikki Stout but Counties hit back with three tries in a five-minute spell from John Wedlock (Beccles), Mike Gillick (Cambridge) and Patrick Calvert (Cambridge University).

Simon Hrbek (Shelford) converted all three, to give Counties a 21-7 interval lead.

Counties lost George Bretag-Norris (Cambridge) to the sin bin early in the second half and Yorkshire drew level with a penalty try and a try from Simon Frewin, both converted by Greg Lound.

Counties struggled in the scrum, David Langley (Cambridge) getting a yellow card.

Yorkshire chose not to kick the penalty and from the scrum Jake Brady went over in the corner to put Yorkshire 26-21 ahead.

Hrbek reduced the arrears with a penalty before Smith ran 40 metres to score, with Hrbek converting.

Soon after Hrbek chased a kick from Joe Tarrant (Ampthill), converting his own try to put Counties 38-26 up.

The final try went to Counties captain Red Newberry, with Hrbek completing a perfect afternoon with the conversion.

Yorkshire were awarded a second penalty try which Lound converted but it came too late to save the game.

Eastern Counties: Sisa Niqisima (Cambridge), Patrick Calvert (Cambridge Uni), James Armitage (Shelford), George Bretag-Norris (Cambridge), Josh Walker (Bury St Edmunds), Red Newberry (Shelford, captain), Sam Bixby (Bury St Edmunds), John Wedlock (Beccles), Mike Gillick (Cambridge), Nico Defeo (Cambridge), Lawrence Hutchinson (Cambridge), Joe Tarrant (Ampthill), Matt Smith (Colchester), Simon Hrbek (Shelford), James Stokes (Cambridge).

Replacements: Joe Winter (Shelford), David Langley (Cambridge), Andrew Hutchison (Shelford), Louis Rawlings (Cambridge), Aki Lea (Shelford), Gary Andrews (Bury St Edmunds), Tom Lucas (Shelford).