Round 5 of the NLD transitional group saw Derby travel to Leicestershire side Coalville.
With a number of players not available Derby still managed to take 16 lads to Coalville, remarkable considering the number of lads unavailable.
In keeping with the tradition of this transitional competition, Derby loaned Coalville 2 players to allow both teams to field 14 players.
With Coalville struggling for a full front row, the scrums were uncontested from the start.
Derby chose to field a full set of backs and keep the forwards with one short, whilst Coalville kept the forwards at full strength and were one down in the backs.
This was to be the turning point for the first try with Coalville short of men on the blindside, 8 – Jim Hather picked up from eight took the ball blind and easy passes through Luke Johnson’s hands led to Will “Thomo” Thompson taking the ball out wide and outstrip the defence to score, unfortunately this was not converted.
Derby continued to apply further pressure but were kept at bay by resolute Coalville defence and those unforced errors that have been a feature of some games.
Coalville’s main strike point was their inside centre who continually made good in roads but never really make a clear break.
Derby’s line out was ticking along nicely with clean ball being taken and half backs utilising it well.
Good interplay between forwards resulted In George Borzykh taking an offload from Jim Hather and scoring wide of the sticks, once again the score was not converted.
Captain Will Falkner called a front ball at the lineout, which Falkner took cleanly and brought the ball down for Derby pack to drive forward from 5 metres. Hooker Bill Willis controlled the drive and secured the ball before the momentum took him over and him scoring a well constructed try. A real positive for the coaches. The score again went unconverted.
Half time came with a score of 15 nil to Derby.
The coaches made a couple of changes with Ben Siddal and Bailey Gooding coming back to play for Derby and swapping with Bill Willis and George Borzykh, who went to play for Coalville.
The second half was error strewn, with few highlights worthy of mention.
Coalville scored a well deserved try following an opportunist break through a ruck, which was converted bringing the score back to 7-15.
Eddy McAteer put in a very accurate restart from which the industrious Max Morley, back on the flank, masterfully caught the ball at top speed and was unlucky to be brought down 10 yard out.
Luke Johnson produced his best performance of the season with his sharp distribution to McAteer and his clever kicking.
The final try of the day was a result of quick thinking form Johnson and McAteer and swift handling from Kainne Barkham, drawing the man and giving Thomo the perfect pass to enable him, once again to outstretch the cover and score close the the sticks. Eddie McAteer duly converted.
Coalville to their credit, kept themselves in the game with good tackling, whilst Derby were left to lament the number of missed chances and errors.
Round 6 will see Derby face a far tougher challenge in Long Eaton, and will have to learn from the areas that haven’t worked so well in recent weeks.
Final Score : Coalville 07 v 22 Derby
Match Report by Sean Hather