27th November 1XV Report: Derby 29-21 Old Northamptonians

Derby travelled to Billing Road on a freezing cold day, looking to make it 5 wins in a row against an Old Northamptonians side that had beaten leaders Bedford Athletic 2 weeks earlier.

Derby gave a debut to Ethan Pearson and played with the strong wind and slope in the first half.

Old Northamptonians kicked off, but it was Derby who scored first, after 6 minutes. Good pressure led to a penalty and Lewis Hancock confidently kicked the 3 points.
3 minutes later, Derby had their first try. A good run from Sam Tebbs took him clear and Ryan Milton took the pass to speed away and score in the corner. A superb conversion from Lewis Hancock took Derby 10 points clear.

Derby lost Charlie Barker to injury, forcing a reshuffle in the pack as prop, Jeri Oldfield replaced him.
After 14 minutes, Derby scored again. A number of forward drives took Derby to the Old
Northamptonians line and one final push, took them over. Tom Antrobus emerged with the ball and Lewis Hancock converted to put Derby 17 points up.

The rest of the half did not go to plan for Derby, as despite playing with Mother Nature, they were unable to score again. Old Northamptonians scored a well worked try of their own through Craig Stewart, which Joe Heslop converted. This made the half time score 17 – 7 to Derby and the Derby faithful, who had ventured away from the warmth of the bar, unsure if the lead was enough!

Old Northamptonians started the second half well and pressed Derby back. Crucially they were unable to score as excellent Derby defence kept them out. Derby gradually got their hands on the ball and with kicks not an option, played handling rugby. With freezing fingers the occasional ball was dropped, but after 55 minutes they got their reward. Andy Brown broke through and found Louis McGuckian with his offload, who raced clear to score under the posts. Lewis Hancock converted. 8 minutes later, Derby won a lineout and drove Old Northamptonians 20 metres back over their own line. Tom Antrobus touched down for his 2 nd try of the day and claimed the 4 try bonus point.

This left Derby 4 scores clear with 17 minutes left and home and dry. Old Northamptonians scored 2 tries, through Sam Donald and Ben Rivans, both well converted by Joe Heslop, but ultimately finished with no league points. This was probably a bit harsh, given their endeavours throughout the match. A good win for Derby, who played particularly well in the crucial 20 minute period of the second half.

Derby remain in 2nd place, with 3rd place Peterborough arriving at Haslams next week!
Come on Derby!