Saturday 11th Nov, Derby Colts travelled to Ashby for Round 9 of the transitional group looking forward to continue their good performances over recent weeks.
Derby took 19 players to play Ashby Colts, which is encouraging as we have at least 4 players recovering from injury. Ashby also benefited from a good sized squad.
For the first 10 mins Derby started well soaking up some early pressure and then putting some good passes together to get into the Ashby half.
Then Derby’s defence switched off for about 10 mins failing to go forward stay connected and apply pressure and during this time Ashby scored 3 converted tries. The tries were based on the bigger Ashby forwards taking the ball at pace, getting over the gainline and recycling quickly. The Derby defence struggled to cope with the size and speed of the forwards attacks and this resulted in gaps round the fringes. 21 – nil
Derby’s fly half Eddie McAteer had defended heroically but in one attack suffered a bloody nose had to go off to get cleaned up and check no further damage had occurred.
In the spirit of the transition group and keeping the games competitive Ashby made some changes taking off some of their older lads and replacing them with the younger members of the squad.
These changes seemed to boost Derby’s confidence and within minutes Derby number 8 Jim Hather, picked up from a scrum went unchallenged down the blindside drew the defender and gave a well-timed pass to the supporting winger Will “Thomo” Thompson who outpaced the cover and scored a fine try in the left corner. The try was not converted. 21-5.
Derby’s confidence grew again and was making some great insertions into the Ashby half by applying pressure, attacking available space, supporting the ball carrier and going forward.
A further break down the right blindside led to Luke Johnson putting Adam Hopkins into space who drew the cover and again put in a perfectly timed pass to put Dan Royal in the right corner, for his 4th try in 4 games. The try was again unconverted. 21-10.
Further pressure from the Derby forwards on the Ashby line in the right corner resulted in Rohan Weatherburn scoring one of his trademark tries from about a foot out. The try was again not converted. 21 -15.
Derby were well and truly back in the game, 3 tries a piece, game on.
Further continuity and good play in the left corner resulted Derby having several attempts to drive over each one was defended robustly by Ashby until Bailey Gooding popped up and dived over scoring a well-deserved try. Derby failed to convert again.
Despite outscoring Ashby 4 tries to 3 in the first half Derby were still behind on the score board 21-20.
First Quarter to Ashby, second quarter to Derby. all to play for.
Half time 21- 20.
With the scores close, the game was finally poised and very even competion ensued. Derby’s defence had improved by staying connected, going forward together and kept Ashby at bay.
Maybe it was Derby’s resolute defence but for some reason Ashby decided to attempt to convert 2 penalties in the second half both failed to hit the mark and the third quarter was honours even.
In the final quarter Derby’s heroic defence tired and was stretched time and time again, and it was only a matter of time before Ashby’s scored again.
Ashby put some good phases together with their runners taking the ball at pace with flat passes.
Ashby managed to score early in final quarter and then again right at the end of the game, neither tries being converted.
Ashby won 5 tries to 4, which suggests a closer game than the actual score.
This game illustrated how the resilience of the Derby team is improving and developing solutions on the field to become more competitive.
Some great rugby was played by both teams with the large crowd entertained with some great tries of the 9 that were scored.
Well done to both teams.
Final score 31 – 20.
Week off next Saturday, hopefully time for some injuries to heal and to work on some areas before they face Dronfield the week after.
Match Report by Sean Hather