Derby were pleased to welcome the Ilkeston Colts coached by former Derby player Nick Pettitt for this first game of the NLD transitional group.
With the holiday season it was touch and go to see if we would be playing 10’s or the full 15 aside version of the game but fortunately both sides managed to a full 15, well done to all.
This was an eagerly anticipated opening match of the season and saw an amalgamation of last years under 16’s and under 17’s combine under the banner of Derby Under 18 Colts, for the first time this season, led by new captain Will Falkner.
The lads will play in a group including teams from Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and Leicestershire. The focus of the games will be on developing players skills and decision making on their journey into senior rugby.
It was anticipated that it would take a few weeks for the lads to knit together but they took minutes rather than weeks.
All the pressure was Derby’s in the first quarter with Derby forwards matching the much bigger and heavier Ilkeston pack and the backs probing and pushing their opponents back towards their opponents try line. There were numerous try scoring opportunities for both forwards and backs, only to be scuppered by handling errors and a well organised Ilkeston defence.
It was Derby who scored first after 15 minutes, the straight running and powerful Jack Glenn bulldozing his way over for a solid forwards try finishing as a reward for the team keeping the ball for multiple phases.
Derby were then thwarted with an in touch decision, when Max Morley looked to have put Will Thompson through to score.
Ilkeston bounced back after 7 minutes to score a try after Derby conceded 3 successive penalties for work at the breakdown. Their well worked try came from a strong forward drive despite Derby’s best efforts to hold the ball up.
This set back didn’t deter Derby and as they looked to get the backs more involved and make more of the space that was starting to appear from the continued pressure and support. Derby scored on 31 mins though the returning Charlie Buxton on the wing following good interplay on the half hour with Kris Powell converting.
Derby continued to press with a series of barnstorming runs. George Borzykh was on hand to in the final minute to drive over for the final try of the first half out wide, converted by Kris to edge Derby ahead 17-5 in what was a very competitive start to the new season.
Derby made a couple of changes at half time welcoming back Billy and Bailey onto the front row.
The second half started with a series of good line breaks by 10, Kris Powell and inside centre Adam Hopkins who were now starting to pull the strings in attack. This resulted in Adam Hopkins scoring a try after 3 minutes which was converted by Kris Powell.
Two minutes later number 8, Jim Hather scored the first of his brace for the day with a now characteristic charge for the line brushing aside would be tacklers. This again was converted by Kris Powell.
The Derby backs were getting a good supply of quality ball from the forwards and Eddie McAteer in a guest appearance at no 9 was finding Kris Powell easily, who with options inside and out was creating space and scoring opportunities for the players around him. One of these resulted in Adam Hopkins going on a mazy run avoiding contact and touch down with an unconverted try.
Even though it was clear Ilkeston continued to work very hard for one another in the second half they had few opportunities but they made the most of a good break and when they were camped 5 meters from the Derby line they used their strong forwards to drive over the try line for a try which was converted. This was a just reward for their endeavours.
This left Jim Hather to score the final points of the afternoon following a powerful run following a well-executed lineout.
Final score Derby 41 – 12 Ilkleston
Overall a great first game team performance by all the Colts players from both teams with the game being played in a great spirit.
Good to see some of the less experienced lads getting lots of game time and some in positions they weren’t not too familiar with. Rohan Weatherburn on the wing #keepittight.
Well done Dan Royal making his first start for Derby Colts.
All bodes well for an enjoyable and a promising season ahead.
A final thank you from both teams to our referee Michael Dickens who stepped in at the last minute with an excellent performance making for an open fast moving game.
Come on Derby!!
Match Report by Sean Hather