It is a mark of the injury problems they have had, that of the pack that ran out against Peterborough Lions in the 1st game of the season, back in September, only 1 started this game; captain Ben Coombes.
Derby kicked off, on a pleasant early Spring day, against opponents who looked bigger in every area. Derby took the lead, after 3 minutes, when George Castledine kicked a penalty.
5 minutes later, Peterborough Lions scored their 1st try, using their forwards’ power; a pattern that was to be repeated at regular intervals throughout the game. The conversion was successful.
George Castledine kicked another penalty, after 12 minutes to keep Derby in touch, but 8 minutes later, Peterborough Lions’ forwards rumbled over.
After 26 minutes, Peterborough Lions lost their No 8 to the sin bin and Derby took advantage of the extra man 2 minutes later.
The ball was recycled and went down the line, before McGrath Van Wyk beat the last man to score in the corner. George Castledine added the conversion, to put Derby ahead 13 – 12.
8 minutes before the break, Josh Tizard made a superb try saving tackle, when Peterborough Lions looked certain to score. 4 minutes later though, the Peterborough Lions’ forwards again won a line out and drove over the try line to score. The conversion made the half time score 19 – 13 to Peterborough Lions.
Derby lost Josh Tizard to a yellow card 6 minutes into the 2nd half and Peterborough Lions made the extra man count immediately with another try.
Derby hit back, while still a man down, when a George Castledine break was stopped just short of the line. The ball was moved wide where McGrath Van Wyk touched down, for his 2nd of the game and 12th of the season. That was as good as it got for Derby, as Peterborough Lions ran in 4 more tries, with 2 conversions, punctuated by a red card to their winger.
Derby fought to the end, but were unable to cope with the pace and power of their opponents, who thoroughly deserved their victory.
Derby finished the league campaign in 9th place, after this defeat, a position they would have been delighted with at the start of the season.
The NLD Cup Final awaits, against Glossop, at Chesterfield, next week.
Come on Derby!
Match Report by Richard Bambra