Derby welcomed Ben Trembling back for the first time this season , while Jeri Oldfield also returned to a place on the bench.
Derby kicked off and were soon in trouble, with Doncaster Phoenix scoring twice in the opening 15 minutes, to lead 14 – 0.
Derby hit back, after 17 minutes, when a good forward drive allowed Dan Hyams to score his 1st try of the season, in his 50th appearance for the club.
Doncaster Phoenix scored another converted try to extend their lead, before Derby hit back just before half time. Gabriel Kajdy scooped up a loose ball and launched an attack which ended with Ben Trembling taking the ball at pace and scoring under the posts. George Castledine duly converted. There was time to kick off and Josh Tizard made an excellent break, but Derby were unable to make it count.
Half time saw Doncaster Phoenix leading 21 – 12.
Derby needed to start the 2nd half well and they did, with their best spell of the match. It culminated in a forward drive, with Sam Herrington touching down for the 9th time this season. An excellent conversion from George Castledine narrowed the gap to 2 points.
Doncaster Phoenix, lost a player to the sin bin, but Derby were unable to capitalise. In fact Doncaster Phoenix scored the next 2 tries, converting both, to put the game out of Derby’s reach.
Derby never gave up and got their reward when they scored their bonus point try, 12 minutes from the end. Callum Slater received the ball, with players outside him. He elected to cut back inside and scored under the posts. George Castledine again converted.
Doncaster Phoenix completed the deserved victory, with 2 further converted tries in the final 10 minutes.
Derby picked up a league point, for the first time since January, to give themselves a theoretical chance of avoiding relegation. However, with no wins in 2019 and 3 wins required in the last 4 games, things are looking bleak.
There are no games next week, before Derby travel to Lichfield on Friday 22nd March. Lichfield are also staring relegation in the face, so a key game for both sides awaits.
Come on Derby !
Match Report by Richard Bambra