What a difference a week makes !
After a thrashing at Luctonians last Saturday, Derby swept to victory against 2nd placed Newport in a thrilling game at Haslams.
Nathan Crow, Luke Willmott and Callum Slater all returned to the side, while George Castledine was on the bench after his enforced injury break. Jake Roome switched to scrum half, with Josh Tizard unwell.
Newport kicked off, playing with a strong breeze and had the early territory and possession. They took the lead after 21 minutes, when the pressure eventually told with a converted try.
This seemed to invigorate Derby and they started to take the game to Newport.
With 8 minutes of the half left, a slick backs move saw McGrath Van Wyk cross the line to narrow the lead.
5 minutes later a similar move saw Derby score again, this time Callum Slater was the player to touch down. A magnificent touchline conversion by McGrath Van Wyk put Derby 5 points clear.
The half ended with Derby in the ascendancy but unable to add to their score.
With the rain continuing to fall throughout the 2nd half and dusk gathering, the stage was set for a tight, tense affair.
It was Derby who struck first, with the half 7 minutes old. Scrum ball was won and the ball went down the backs and then back towards the forwards. Sam Tebbs received the ball 15 metres out and with 2 defenders about to tackle him. He spun out of the tackle and galloped away to score. McGrath Van Wyk converted and Derby were 12 clear.
Newport were far from finished however and responded half way through the half with a converted try of their own.
Derby kept probing and won a penalty deep in Newport territory. They opted to kick to the corner. The line out was won, but the attack seemed to be going nowhere. Josh Bingham was clearly of the same opinion, as when the ball came to him he dropped a goal, putting Derby 2 scores clear.
With 4 minutes left, Newport seemed sure to score, but Ben Marlow stopped them, by knocking on. His reward was a yellow card, before the referee ran under the posts to award a penalty try. This made it a 1 point game, with 4 minutes left.
Newport tried to run the ball from deep, but it squirted out of their hands. George Castledine hacked on, picked up and slid over the line for the bonus point try. McGrath Van Wyk added the conversion with the final kick of the game.
A cracking game and result, which leaves Derby 8th in the league, at the half way point.
Next week, Derby travel to Sandbach, for the last game before Christmas.
Come on Derby !
Match Report by Richard Bambra
Photographs of the Derby v Newport (Salop) game can be viewed on the e4creative photography website at www.e4creative-photography.co.uk/galleries/gallery/08122018-derby-1st-xv-v-newport-salop-1st-xv