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27th Jan’18 1st XV Report: Derby 07 v 33 Bridgnorth

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Derby’s Luke Willmott keeps hold of the ball as he’s tackled by two Bridgnorth players

Ollie Saffell, Simon Moon and Luke Frixou were the only changes to the side that had beaten Bournville last week.

With the artificial pitch delayed by poor weather, instead of playing the first game on that surface, the teams were treated to a quagmire on the back pitch; well before half time it was impossible to tell who was playing for whom !

Bridgnorth kicked off, playing with the strong breeze and 25 minutes later had the game won. The first try arrived after 8 minutes, when a spell of possession created an overlap and the conversion made 7 points.

A 4 minute spell, starting 5 minutes later sealed Derby’s fate. Firstly, Luke Willmott was sinbinned. With 14 men, Derby conceded a penalty try and Ryan Manning was judged the guilty party and also yellow carded. Derby’s 13 men were unable to keep Bridgnorth out and another converted try was scored. 17 minutes gone and 21 – 0 to Bridgnorth. What a 4 minute spell !

Before either of the sin binners returned, Bridgnorth scored another converted try to virtually seal the win.

Half time arrived, with Derby stabilising and not conceding again, but unable to narrow the gap; in fact Derby did not enter the Bridgnorth 22 at any point in the half !

The 2nd half showed an improvement from Derby as they put together some phases of play in an attempt to get back in the game.

The pressure told,  after 57 minutes when Josh Tilford crashed over from close range. George Castledine converted, but that was as good as it got for Derby.

The conditions made handling difficult and a number of Bridgnorth tackles resulted in the ball being prised out of Derby hands.

Just before the end, frustration got the better of Luke Willmott and he received a 2nd yellow card, followed by a red card.

Bridgnorth took advantage of the extra man again and scored a try just before the end.

Bridgnorth retained the ball well in difficult conditions and stuck to their game plan and thoroughly deserved to leave Haslams with 5 points.

Derby deserve credit for winning the 2nd half, but as I mentioned earlier, the game was gone after 25 minutes.

Derby have another tough game in prospect next week, when they travel to Scunthorpe.

Hopefully they will make a better start !

Come on Derby !

Match Report by Richard Bambra