29th January 2022 1XV Report: Derby 15-36 Dronfield

For the 2nd week in a row, Derby travelled to a ground they had not previously played a league game on, in this case, Gosforth Fields.

Injuries and unavailabilities led to changes in the backs; Lewis Hancock moved to fly half, Ryan Milton played at full back, Tom Bigland returned on the wing and Harris McConnell made his debut in the centre.

A strong wind blew straight down the pitch as Derby kicked off. Dronfield had the benefit of this wind for the first 40 minutes.

Derby started the game well, keeping the ball in hand and building pressure on Dronfield. It came as no surprise when they took the lead after 9 minutes, with the forwards making good ground before Declan McManus drove over for his 1st try for the side. Lewis Hancock’s conversion came back off the post.

Dronfield hit back 5 minutes later and scored 3 tries in a 10 minute spell. Their forwards kept the ball well and the backs made slick passing moves to stretch the Derby defence to breaking point.

2 of the 3 tries were converted, leaving Dronfield 19 – 5 ahead.

Derby looked after the ball well for the rest of the half. A 14 point half time deficit was probably par for the course in the conditions, but just before the break Dronfield struck again. A converted try saw the half time score as 26 – 5 to Dronfield and left Derby with a mountain to climb, their task not helped by injuries to forwards Callum Jones and Jeri Oldfield.

Derby started the 2nd half well. A sustained spell of pressure, saw Dronfield lose their Number 8 to the sin bin after 44 minutes. 1 minute later, Derby made the man advantage count, with good passing putting Tom Bigland over in the corner.

Derby continued to press, but a combination of errors and good Dronfield defence kept them out.

15 minutes remained, when Dronfield sealed the victory with 2 tries in 3 minutes.

This left Derby needing 2 tries to secure a 4 try bonus point.

7 minutes remained when the forwards drove over the line and Charlie Barker touched down.

Derby continued to press, but where unable to cross the Dronfield line again.

This defeat drops Derby to 4th in the league and they have lost 3 out of 4 games since Christmas. 2 home games in the next 2 weeks, against Towcestrians and Kettering await.

Come on Derby !

Report by: R.Bambra