Derby travelled to Bournbrook, on the campus of the University of Birmingham, looking to end a run of 5 defeats in a row. They made 3 changes to the starting XV, with Ben Trembling, Jake Barker and Ryan Manning all returning.
The game kicked off, with heavy snow falling, but no concerns about the pitch; Derby had a preview of things to come, by playing on an artificial surface.
Bournville kicked off and were soon into their stride, scoring a converted try with their first attack, after just 3 minutes.
Derby roused themselves, started to apply pressure and kept the ball through a number of phases, but took until the 17th minute to level the scores. Once more Derby had gone through multiple phases when Ben Trembling received the ball, 10 metres out. He spotted a gap and darted through to score. George Castledine added the conversion.
3 minutes later, Derby were in front. George Castledine chipped into the corner and Ryan Manning won the race and touched down.
Derby nearly scored again, after 23 minutes, but this time the chase to touch down was won by Bournville, with McGrath Van Wyk unable to reach his own kick ahead.
Half time saw the score 12 – 7 to Derby and both sides would feel they were able to go on and win.
Derby took a big step towards victory after just 5 minutes of the 2nd half. Louis Hicks made a break and Derby kept the ball alive. Simon Moon had replaced Adam Parkins at half time and he was in the right position to take the ball and power his way over the line from 15 metres, to score his first try for the club. George Castledine’s conversion made the gap 12 points.
Derby were pressing again, after 50 minutes, but Bournville picked off a pass and sprinted away to score. The conversion made the gap 5 points again.
After 59 minutes, George Castledine kicked a penalty to put Derby 2 scores clear.
Bournville were testing the Derby defence at this stage and Derby did well not to concede, thanks to some good covering and excellent tackling.
It was Derby who clinched victory, scoring a bonus point try, with 5 minutes remaining. Ben Marlow made the initial break and Sam Martin took the ball on the burst to sprint clear and score in the corner.
Bournville attacked the Derby line for the rest of the game and got their reward when the forwards drove over. The conversion, which gave Bournville a losing bonus point, was the final action of the day.
Derby will be satisfied with a 5 point win, against tough opponents. Next week will be another tough game, when Bridgnorth travel to Haslams.
Come on Derby !
Match Report by Richard Bambra