Derby Colts welcomed Long Eaton Colts to Haslam’s Lane for Round 6 of transitional group.
For the first time this season Derby were able to field a pretty much full strength squad and had the luxury of 3 backs and 1 forward sub. Derby welcomed back Will Town for his first game of the season.
Long Eaton were short of a back and Derby’s Eddie McAteer stepped up and played full back for the visitors in the first half.
Long Eaton started well with a big forward effort pushing the usually solid Derby pack off their own ball twice in the first 5 mins. This gave the visitors confidence they had Derby under considerable pressure.
Derby were able to capitalise on the first sustained possession with a great line break by the Derby No.8 and a lay off for George Borzykh to score his second in as many weeks . Converted by the returning fly half Kris Powell.
The next 10 mins was pretty even with both teams enjoying good possession.
Derby had suffered from not being accurate in previous weeks but that wasn’t the case against Long Eaton. Good support play resulted in well worked try for captain and open side flanker Will Falkner to dive on the ball ahead of Toby Green on 14 mins. This was again converted by Powell.
On 20 minutes Derby forward pressure had created a great attacking opportunity inside the opposition 22. After a couple of forward phases the ball was whipped out to the left for centre Adam Hopkins to out pace the defence and score on the outside. Adam was another player returning to the fold after injury and an NLD under 18s appearance.
The game was still fairly even and Long Eaton should consider themselves unlucky to be 19 points behind. The difference was that Derby were far more clinical in the last third and had multiple attacking options in backs and forwards.
This was highlighted by blindside flanker Toby Green’s evasive run and score under the post at 24 mins. Which was converted by Powell again.
Even though the score didn’t suggest it, Long Eaton were still in the game, with powerful runs by their number 8 and the Derby defence just managing to snuff out any danger.
Hooker Ed Howe, produced another determined and evasive run from around the halfway line to break a number of tackle and outpace the covering defence to score with Kris Powell again converting.
Long Eaton were dealt a further setback by receiving a yellow case just before halftime.
Half time gave the teams the opportunity to swap a couple of players, with the plan to reassess and swap again if needed.
Eddie McAteer moved back into a Derby shirt and started the half in the stand off position, with Jonny Salloway going to play full back and Ben Siddalls playing second row and Kainne Barkham moving to the scrum half for the visitors.
Despite the changes Derby started with the more intensity and within a minute forward pressure got them close to the line, the impressive Luke Johnson was on hand to switch the play to the blind side and a couple quick passes put Charlie Buxton with a 1 on 1 in the corner. Charlie stepped and drove over to score a well worked try.
3 minutes later a lovely backs move, with simple but effective handling and running lines put Dan Royal through for his first try ever. This was to be repeated 12 minutes later with another great backs move and Royal scoring again in the corner. Neither were converted.
The changes weren’t having sufficient effect and so the Long Eaton Coaching team were given further choice of players. Ed Howe moved on to the back row, Luke Johnson moved to scrum half and Adam Hopkins moved to the centre.
These changes certainly had the desired effect with Derby scoring only one more try and Long Eaton scoring the last 2 of the game, 1 of them being scored in the corner by the Derby player Ben Siddals.
Derby’s final try came from Rohan Weatherburn, scoring in typical front row fashion out wide, just reward for his work in the tight and good support play and handling.
The final score was 53-10 which probably flattered Derby a little and did not reflect the pressure and possession that Long Eaton enjoyed. Derby’s accuracy and clinical finishing were the main difference.
Finally the coaches would like to thank the Derby lads who played for Long Eaton and the visiting team and their supporters for their participation in such a friendly match.
Match Report by Sean Hather