What a game ! 11 tries, end to end rugby, with both sides keeping the ball alive as often as possible and an unbelievable conclusion.
Derby made 2 changes to the starting XV, with Sam Pittman and Andy Brown coming into the side.
Derby kicked off, but it was Sandbach who struck first, after 3 minutes. A crossfield kick was gathered by their winger, who scored.
Derby hit back 4 minutes later. After keeping the ball alive through a number of phases, Derby were awarded a penalty, just short of the Sandbach try line. They took it quickly and Martin Kent crashed over to score.
After 16 minutes, things looked grim for Derby as Sandbach scored 14 unanswered points, courtesy of 2 converted tries.
This left Derby 14 points behind, but George Castledine quickly narrowed the gap with a penalty.
After 25 minutes, Derby broke and the ball found its way to McGrath Van Wyk on the wing. He chipped through and gathered the ball to score. George Castledine converted.
This was the final score before the break, although both sides came close; Sandbach were held up over the Derby line, while the impressive Luke Willmott looked to have scored for Derby, but was called back for a forward pass earlier in the move.
So half time saw Sandbach 19 – 15 ahead, with both sides feeling the game was there to be won.
Derby started the 2nd half well and took the lead, after only 2 minutes, when Josh Tizard ran 25 metres to touch down.
6 minutes later they scored again, when Pete Wilcox was driven over from close range. With Sandbach also losing a player to the sin bin and Derby 6 points ahead, having scored 20 unanswered points.
Sandbach halved the deficit with a penalty, after Adam Parkins had been yellow carded, before Derby scored again. George Castledine kicked through and McGrath Van Wyk won the race for the ball to score.
Sandbach hit back immediately with a converted try, so with 16 minutes left, Derby led by 1 point.
Both sides pressed for the next score and it came 4 minutes from time, when Sandbach edged into the lead with a penalty.
Deep into injury time, Derby were awarded a penalty, but George Castledine’s kick was pushed right. Leaving Sandbach to drop out, for the last play of the game.
Ollie Saffell took the ball and with Luke Willmott and Jake Barker prominent, Derby worked to the Sandbach try line. One final drive and Sam Tebbs was over the line to score. George Castledine converted and Derby had snatched victory at the death !
A tough game, away at Birmingham & Solihull awaits next week, but with this spirit and ‘never say die’ attitude, anything is possible !
Come on Derby !
Match Report by Richard Bambra
Photographs of the Derby v Sandbach game can be viewed in the Galleries section on the e4creative photography website at…