Last season Derby travelled to Trentham Fields, led 32 – 7 and lost 33 -32, with Longton scoring a last play of the game try ! Unfortunately for Derby, today’s game followed a similar pattern, with Derby quickly 14 – 0 up but again beaten by a last play of the game try. Who says lightning doesn’t strike twice !
Derby kicked off, with the floodlights shining through the gloom and drizzle. Longton were quickly into their game plan, with lots of forward drives and they kept the ball for the next 3 minutes. An errant pass however, was picked off by McGrath Van Wyk who sped away to score. With George Castledine converting, Derby had the perfect start.
2 minutes later Derby scored again. Quick ball led to a Ben Marlow break. He passed to Alex Taylorson. He drew the last man and slipped the ball to Josh Tizard who scored under the posts. George Castledine converted.
Longton scored their first try after 10 minutes, taking a quick penalty and scoring in the corner.
Ben Marsden was shown a yellow card after 24 minutes and 4 minutes later Longton scored again, to reduce the gap to 4 points.
Derby struck again after 31 minutes. They kept the ball through multiple phases before George Castledine released McGrath Van Wyk to score his second try of the day.
Just before the break the Longton forwards drove over to leave the score 19 – 15 to Derby at half time.
A 4 point lead didn’t look enough, given that Derby had played with both the slope and the wind during the first half.
Derby lost Sam Tebbs to a yellow card, before Longton took the lead, after 53 minutes. A penalty was kicked to the corner and again the Longton pack drove over the line.
11 minutes later, Longton extended their lead. They almost scored a try, but the ball was lost in the act of grounding. However, a penalty was awarded, which extended the lead to 4 points.
A terrific break by Ben Marsden was halted just short of the Longton line as Derby tried to respond.
Derby dominated the next 10 minutes and kept Longton pinned back in their own 22. They were rewarded with a penalty try, when Longton pulled down a maul a metre from the line. Longton also lost a player to the sin bin. This took Derby 3 points ahead, with 4 minutes remaining.
Longton had 1 last chance, kept the ball tight with the forwards driving on and mauled their way over the line. The conversion was missed and the final whistle blew.
2 league points were gained, taking Derby to 50. It would be nice to have a win soon to stop the anxious looks at the relegation battle !
Come on Derby !
Match Report by Richard Bambra