Derby celebrated opening their new AGP with an exciting victory over Nuneaton, in their final home game of the season. A number of players returned to the Derby side, after missing last week’s defeat at Newport.
It was Nuneaton who kicked off, on a pleasant Spring day, with the rain finally relenting. Derby took the lead after 4 minutes, when George Castledine kicked a penalty.
Nuneaton were not just there to celebrate with Derby and showed this with 2 good tries in 5 minutes. With a conversion, Nuneaton led 12 – 3 after 13 minutes.
Derby worked their way back into the game and a good move, after 27 minutes, with Jake Barker and Jack Dawson prominent, saw Tom Taylor-Dawes touch down. George Castledine converted. Derby took the lead 4 minutes later, when a well-executed catch and drive saw Sam Tebbs score. An excellent touchline conversion from George Castledine put Derby 5 points clear.
Just before the break, with Josh Tizard in the sin bin, Nuneaton scored a converted try, which gave them a half time lead 19 – 17.
Derby scored 1st in the 2nd half, with a George Castledine penalty, 2 minutes after the re-start.
Nuneaton’s forwards created the pressure that led to their bonus point try and the conversion took them 6 points clear.
After 52 minutes, Nuneaton were pressing again, when Ben Marlow intercepted a pass. The ball worked its way to Ryan Manning, who stood up the last man and raced away to score.
The next quarter of an hour saw both sides probing for openings, before 4 tries in the final 10 minutes settled the game. Pete Wilcox was the first to score, securing Derby a bonus point when he dived over from close range. A Ben Marlow break and an exchange of passes with McGrath Van Wyk, saw Marlow touch down. With 2 George Castledine conversions, Derby were 13 points clear. Nuneaton were not finished however and scored a try to narrow the gap again. It was Ben Marlow who had the last word. In his 250th game for the club, he stretched to score the final try, his 121st career try. Well done Ben !
A good win for Derby, against a Nuneaton side who gave everything and kept going right to the end. The 5 points takes Derby past last season’s total of 59 league points, on to 64.
An away game against Old Halesonians awaits next week, before the season finishes with The NLD Cup Final against Paviors at Boston !
Come on Derby !
Match Report by Richard Bambra