Derby hosted Sheffield at Haslams and produced their best performance of the season, scoring 6 tries, while Sheffield, after a bright start, were blown away.
Jeri Oldfield, Callum Jones and George Campbell all came into the starting XV, while Simon Moon made his first appearance from the bench.
Sheffield kicked off, as the rain fell.
Only 3 minutes had elapsed when Sheffield pressure led to a try from Bowman.
3 minutes later, Derby were ahead. A good run from George Campbell created the opportunity and Josh Tizard touched down. George Castledine converted.
A further 3 minutes later and the game had its 3rd try ! Sheffield reclaimed the lead as Broadley sprinted clear to score. Depledge converted.
After that breathless start, the game settled down, with Derby looking to pull back the 5 point deficit.
On the stroke of half time the opportunity arrived. Derby attacked, firstly spreading the ball one way, then quickly returning the other way and Jack Dawson showed great determination and strength to force his way over.
The whistle blew for half time, with the scores tied at 12-12. It had been an absorbing game, with both sides still having all to play for.
Derby started the brighter after the interval and they had a try to show for their efforts after 50 minutes. The forwards built the pressure and Josh Tizard took advantage to nip over and score.
Sheffield did not lie down and had a concerted attack which strong Derby defence and tackling kept at bay.
With 15 minutes left, the game deciding play arrived. Martin Kent ripped the ball from a Sheffield player on half way. Derby broke away and the only way to stop George Campbell was illegally. Sheffield fly half, Hodgson departed to the sin bin. Derby opted to tap the penalty and drive for the line. The move succeeded, with Martin Kent touching down. George Castledine added the extras and Derby were 12 points ahead.
In the next Derby attack, Sheffield pulled down a maul and flanker Hughes was also shown a yellow card.
This left Sheffield with 13 and Derby duly cashed in. Drives from Luke Willmott and Sam Harrington sucked in the Sheffield defence leaving Jake Roome to touch down when the ball was spun wide. An excellent touchline conversion by George Castledine made the game safe.
Derby put the icing on the cake with the final play of the game. Callum Jones received the ball 40 metres out, feinted one way and went the other, then sprinted away to score. George Castledine’s conversion completed the scoring.
This was a superb 2nd half performance. The consensus among the Derby faithful was that was the best they could remember for a long time !
A trip to Bournville awaits next week.
Come on Derby !
Match Report by Richard Bambra
Photographs of the Derby v Sheffield game can be viewed on the e4creative photography website at www.e4creative-photography.co.uk/galleries/gallery/22092018-derby-1st-xv-v-sheffield-1st-xv/