Derby faced a revitalised Doncaster side strengthened by six Academy players and it showed in their running speed and quick passing. Though Derby did have the edge in the forwards, the home side recycled ball at the break downs and worked the lineouts well to give their Backs enough ball to continually test a determined but stretched Derby defence. I have not seen a set of forwards capable of the sustained level of physical and athletic effort required to deny opposition like Doncaster the ball, time and space. To their credit, Derby’s pack fought, tackled and pushed with determination but it was like a Don Quixote quest. That said, Derby are scoring tries with four of their five tries coming from second row, Sam Herrington. However, when the defence is stretched, tries are inevitably leaked.
Doncaster’s first try came from No.7, Robinson and was quickly followed by a second from winger, Fowler. Fly Half, Adams converted the first but then Derby used their forward strength to drive over for Sam Herrington’s first try. Capitalising on loose ball, scrum half, Pocklington, made a great run before passing to winger, Nunn, for a spirit breaking try. It was then the Derby pack who kept the ball through several phases, finally drove over from a lineout for Herrington’s second try. From the restart, a Derby offence gifted Adams a penalty extending their lead to eight points. Once again Derby fought back and from a 5-metre scrum, Sam Herrington got his third try to narrow the gap to only three points.
After the restart Doncaster decided to negate Derby’s scrum advantage by feeding the ball in the scrums down a channel directly to their No.8 – hardly rated as credible put ins! Two tries in quick succession by Fowler and Pocklington with one converted by Adams seemingly put the home side out of reach. Yet again, following good ball retention, Herrington scored his fourth try. Hooker, Holling, immediately restored normal service with a try, very quickly followed by another Pocklington try both of which Adams converted. In a final flurry Martin Kent passed to Ben Marlow, who sprinted over for a final try converted by McGrath Van Wyk. Derby left with a Try Bonus point and disappointed that they could have done better. It is Lichfield at home on Friday evening, Kick Off 7.45 pm. Be there and lend your support.
Match Report by Gerry Sherry