Saturday 4th Nov, Derby Colts welcomed Chesterfield Colts to Haslam’s Lane for Round 8 of transitional group, and looked forward to an opportunity to improve our performance against great local rivals.
The Derby Colts have been improving their performances as the season has develops. The latest match resulted in a win the previous week against Matlock at Cromford Meadows. This was a great team effort considering some non-availability of players, due to half term holidays, several players playing out of position, including a back row featuring 2 wingers, a second row and a scrum half on the wing. The boys were showing their adaptability and fitness given our match day squad of just 15 players.
For the second time this season Derby were able to field a pretty much full strength squad and had the luxury of 5 substitutes. In the spirit of the colts transition group 4 of these were required to start for Chesterfield. Derby loaned Chesterfield 2 backs and 2 forwards until a Chesterfield forward arrived within the first 10 mins.
Derby has played Chesterfield many times and we were pleased to welcome them back to Haslam’s Lane. Darren Burton’s lads are well drilled especially in the forwards. Derby’s forward have enjoyed many an arm wrestle with Chesterfield in the past and it was clear form the offset that Derby’s game plan was to vary the points of attack and move the robust Chesterfield pack around as much as possible.
Derby started well with forwards and backs linking well and generating decent ball for the mercurial Kris Powell at 10 to control early pressure.
3 minutes in, Powell straightened, feinted to pass and put a delightful chip over the oncoming defence only to gather the bouncing ball and score close to the uprights. Powell knocked over the conversion with relative ease to collect the extras and put Derby ahead 7 nil.
The pressure was constantly on Chesterfield for the early period but robust tackling kept Derby at bay for the next 5 mins. Derby forwards recycled ball quickly on the left flank with second row Ben Siddal’s taking the initiative and playing scrum half role to keep the ball moving. At the next breakdown the actual scrum half Luke Johnson who was now free from the previous ruck, made the decision to break down the blind side, recognising a 3 on 2, he passed before contact to Adam Hopkins who with not much space managed to jink past the final defender and run in and score. Kainne Barkham was in place for perfect support but not needed on this occasion.Powell again converted. 14 nil.
Derby continued to press and were impressively accurate and decisive, with Billy Willis taking a couple of opposition ball at the scrum (nice to see hookers striking for the ball again) and were clinical in their finishing.
Within another 5 mins the pack had secured quality, quick ball for a sweeping move involving backs Johnson, Powell, Kelly and finally Hopkin’s putting Dan Royal in for his 3rd try in 3 games. 4 games ago Royal, who is new to rugby had never scored. The difficult conversion was not secured. 19 nil.
Derby moved some of the players around, swapping players they had loaned Chesterfield. This had the desired effect and the following quarter was an even contest with both teams now competing for superiority.
On 26 mins Hopkins who was now wearing Chesterfield colours, collected the ball identified a disjointed Derby backline and broke through finishishing off scoring a well worked try, which was converted by the Chesterfield 10. 19-7.
Chesterfield continued to press building pressure and scored a converted try again before the break. Derby were struggling to cope with the changes and even more so when Powell went off with a broken nose.
Half time came with the score remaining at 19-14 and all to play for in the second half.
Following some reorganisation at half time, Derby seemed to settle the better.
Eddie McAteer took over fly half duties and worked well with the impressive Tom Kelly at inside center.
Within 6 mins of the second half and following solid pressure and go forward from the Derby forwards in the Chesterfield 22, Toby Green scored and then he did it again with a similar evasive run and try on 11 mins. For those who have seen Green play, these were fine examples of the way he plays rugby, with speed and aggression at contact.
Kicking responsibilities were left to McAteer who converted the second of Green’s tries.
From a Derby point of view the changes brought with them some inaccuracy, with passes not being completed or not being attempted. This resulted in Chesterfield more than holding their own and make some good insertions into the Derby 22. Derby’s defence remained solid, with captain Will Falkner rallying his troop’s to defend their line more than once.
Early in the last quarter Chesterfield were penalised inside the Derby half.
Kainne Barkham who had now moved into the centre, and had had a couple of games covering scrumhalf, was quick to see the opportunity for a quick tap and go and his initial sprint took him clear of Chesterfield’s first line of defence. Barkham had good support inside and out but didn’t need it made it to the line for a fine individual unconverted try. 36 – 14.
After that, the final quarter was an even battle, with both Chesterfield and Derby cancelling each other out, both having opportunities, but both defences were well organised and managed to snuff out any try scoring chances.
The game was a credit to both teams, being played in a robust and competitive but fair manner. It was good to see Max Morley supporting the lads from the touch line, despite suffering from a long term ankle injury.
The last vote of thanks goes to the Derby lads who played for Chesterfield and also who played in positions which they are not normally used to. There were so many we cannot possibly thank them individually.
The improving Derby team look forward to facing Ashby away next week.
Final score 36-14.
Match Report by Sean Hather