Derby welcomed Loughborough to Haslams for round four of the NLD transitional group.
Once again Derby were forced to make some positional changes, with no recognised scrum half and centres available. Massive thanks to Kainne Barkham for stepping in from wing to scrum half at the last minute. A tribute to Kainne’s skills he slotted in really well, very few people would have been aware this wasn’t his normal position.
Once again Max Morley and Will Thompson stepped into the centre partnership and both look more comfortable with the new skill set required with each time they play in midfield. Well done Max and Thomo.
Bailey Gooding made his first start of the year at loose head prop and his mobility and aggression was impressive, Bailey then swapped to hooker when a hand injury to Bill Willis forced him off the field.
The forced changes showed them selves to be a factor in Derby’s slow start. The Derby forwards started robustly but a well drilled Loughborough pack unpicked the Derby line out at will and put them under pressure at scrum time.
Derby’s new midfield took a while to click in defence which gave Loughborough two early opportunities to score with well worked backs moves finished off by string runs and scores out wide. Luckily for Derby neither were converted.
As in previous matches Derby’s resolution was refocused after going behind and the impressive Max Morley made a clear line break from inside his own half and was driven out wide by the cover, Morley cleverly drew the Loughborough scramble defence and whipped the ball back inside for Kianne Barkham to score from 10 metres out follow great support play. The ever reliable Kirs Powell added the extras.
With Willis off the field Derby’s opportunities at line out were limited with the taller Loughborough forwards taking their own lineouts and disrupting Derby’s.
Loughborough forced their way over again before half time, with a penalty try as a Derby defender tried to tackle a lough player without the ball. No conversion necessary with a penalty try which left a half time lead for the visitors 17-7.
After the break Derby had their moments in open play with good movement led by Powell in the backs allowing Morley and Thompson prod and probe.
The forwards worked the way back into the game with the gainline success being made.
Loughborough used there bench well with at least 5 subs being introduced . Derby had to dig in with what they had, to their credit they worked hard and played for each other.
As has been the case this season Derby improved in the second half and had Loughborough under increasing pressure. Derby were lucky not to have a further penalty try with again desperate Derby defence being breached and the Loughborugh attack looked as if it had been stopped illegally but the referee gave a good advantage and Loughborugh recharged the ball and scored close to the sticks which was converted.
Derby had its fair share of the pressure with them trying to keep the game tight and pressuring the fringes at every opportunity.
Following pressure on the line Jack Glen picked and drove over to score, Powell converting.
This gave Derby the belief that they could come back again at 24-14.
Toby Green broke the line with a hack trough and looked to have been held back in a similar position to the penalty try in the first half for the visitors. The referee didn’t see it that way and gave derby a penalty which they couldn’t benefit from.
We have said it before but if the game had lasted any longer Derby would have made more inroads into the “Boro” lead.
Once again, it was not to be with Loughborough deservedly taking the win.
If Derby could play in the first 15 minutes like they play in the last 15 minutes the results would be significantly different.
Final score Derby 14 v 24 Loughborough.
Match Report by Sean Hather
Photographs of the Derby v Loughborough game can be viewed in the Galleries section on the e4creative photography website at…