Derby travelled to Cooke Fields for a game against fellow strugglers Lichfield. It was a game both sides had to win if they were to harbour realistic chances of avoiding relegation.
Derby were led out by McGrath Van Wyk to mark his 100th appearance.
Lichfield kicked off and soon dominated possession and territory. It came as no surprise when they opened their account with a converted try after 5 minutes. 2 further tries followed and after 25 minutes, Lichfield were 19 points ahead.
Derby, began to work their way back into the game and got their reward after 28 minutes. They were awarded a penalty near the Lichfield line. Martin Kent took the ball, tapped and drove over the line to narrow the gap.
Just before the break it looked as if the game had tilted in Derby’s favour. Firstly, the Lichfield scrum half was shown a red card. Derby immediately took advantage and moved the ball down the line where McGrath Van Wyk took the pass and touched down. George Castledine converted and half time saw Lichfield ahead 19 – 12. The game was in the balance – could Derby grab their chance ?
3 minutes after the re-start, the numbers were evened up, with Ben Marlow dispatched to the Sinbin.
However, just 4 minutes later, Lichfield were reduced to 13, with a yellow card of their own. Being down to 13 did not stop Lichfield attacking and they increased their score with 2 penalties.
With 20 minutes remaining, things looked bleak for Derby, but just after Lichfield returned to 14 men, another player was shown yellow.
This time Derby took advantage, with an excellent McGrath Van Wyk catch allowing him to touch down for his 7th try of the season. An excellent George Castledine conversion brought Derby within 1 score.
Derby then lost a scrum in the Lichfield 22 and moments later Lichfield were scoring a try at the other end.
The final nail was put in Derby’s coffin with another Lichfield try, this time converted.
The effort and commitment could not be faulted, but time is running out for Derby.
Second place Luctonians visit Haslams next week.
Come on Derby !
Match Report by Richard Bambra