Junior Games Report: 13 November 2022

Derby U16s vs Ashbourne – NLD Cup Round 2

Derby welcomed Ashbourne to a foggy AGP for the second round of the NLD. We had lost to Ashbourne three times last year including the NLD so a much improved Derby were itching for some payback.

Derby started with some uncharacteristic handling errors, mainly thanks to a very greasy pitch, that lead to us being camped on our own line for the first 15 mins of the game. Derby showed massive tenacity in holding out a potent Ashbourne side as long as they did but eventually that pressure told and Ashbourne darted over in the corner. Derby quickly levelled however as our captain Matt Tatham put our midweek training to use by arcing over from 20m out. Derby put the pressure straight back on from the KO as Joe Mitchell put his characteristic burners on to scamper over. Ashbourne however weren’t done and took advantage of a slight dog leg on defence to crash through some tackles to level at 10-10. Derby went into half time level, knowing they were in a hell of a contest and that they needed to step it up.

The boys duly delivered by upping the pace of the game to stretch Ashbourne one way then the other. Finally the pressure told and Derby cracked open the Ashbourne defence like a walnut. Joe Cook used his pace and power to crash over whilst taking a few defenders with him and Joe Mitchell got himself another score to keep himself as Derby’s top try scorer. Sam Dickens showed great composure to finish off a sequence of off- loads straight from the kick.off Fiji would of been proud of.

All this was done in the space of 20 mins and by the time Derby had eased up on the throat of Ashbourne defence the score had ballooned to 28-10. It would remain that way as Derby closed out the game to secure their passage to the next round of the NLD cup!

Particular mentions go to Nikil, our centre turned second row who was all over the pitch as well as taking responsibility at the line out. Our centre Joe Cook had his best game in a Derby shirt and really turned the game after his introduction. However a cruel late broken ankle robbed him of the post match plaudits in the club house afterwards. We wish Joe all the best in his recovery and hope he’ll be back soon with us!

Derby U15s vs Chesterfield

Chesterfield made the journey down the m1 for the game today against derby. We have always looked forward to this fixture as Chesterfield upholds the values and plays with everything they have.

Chesterfield opened up with an amazing return run from the restart and camped on Derby’s 5-meter line after a blinding attacking run from the off. Derby dug in and held up the onslaught holding the ball up over the wash. Due to poor discipline, it was moved back to a penalty and Chesterfield attacked again. Some excellent team defence held them off. This woke derby up who then started moving into their own groove with some lovely attacking plays. After a few phases and excellent ball retention, some handling issues gave the ball away. Against the head derby regained the ball on a powerful scrum and with great support lines ran in the first Try.

The game restarted and Chesterfield pushed again. Derby’s line speed in defence was outstanding and shut down territory gain. The line speed pushed Chesterfield hard causing a knock-on. From this, some great phase plays again by derby and an outstanding solo run meant derby again was over the whitewash for another try.

Derby kept the pressure on with brilliant lines peed and ferocious tackling which caused lots of issues for Chesterfield. Derby regained the ball in the loose after some valiant loose ball work by the forwards and swung it out wide to the wing. Great support running and interplay between wing and centre meant another Try for derby.
The next reset went in a similar fashion with phase after phase then swinging it out wide to the opposite wing for another Try.

Chesterfield didn’t let their heads drop and kept on pushing derby in attack, and some solid strong tackling kept the game balanced in the middle of the field. After some big carries by t forwards derby camped on Chesterfield’s 5m line, but Chesterfield wasn’t going to make it easy, tackle after tackle, phase after phase the battle was balanced, until a pick-and-go and into traffic, a try was scored by derby.

Chesterfield came out again strong with some great carries and hard running, they looked to utilise their own phase plays and hard rucking causing derby to work extra hard in defence and keeping their discipline. Derby held off these attempts and managed to jackle the ball at a crucial time to regain possession. Off this, the ball was in open play with players linking, drawing in the contact and offloading and great support lines putting another try over.

Derby regrouped and pushed hard again with successful phase plays, strong rucking and good positioning, Chesterfield held strong, 8 phases deep and Chesterfield held Derby for a total of 5m gain. With a quick low drive, derby broke the strong defence and broke through for another try.

With the game coming to a close, Chesterfield with regained confidence and heads held up high pushed derby with phase after phase, some lovely running lines with their backs and excellent retention pushed derby back on their own try line. Chesterfield sent everything they had, but Derby held strong and held up the efforts, Chesterfield with this new surge in energy started to punish Derby again, and after some lovely running lines by the centre pairing they broke through for a well-deserved score.

It’s always a pleasure playing Chesterfield. A great bunch of lads, who hold the values of this wonderful game. Chesterfield had a few debutants today who played excellently and came off the pitch with beaming smiles on their faces.

The man of the match for Derby was Jolyon Finlay, he out a try over, worked really hard put some big tackkes in and did some great rucking. Led a strong scrum at the front.

Final score derby 48-Chesterfield 5.

Derby U14s vs Nottingham Casuals

Derby travelled to Nottingham Casuals today, looking forward to another close and competitive game as always against Casuals.

After a strong warm-up session, it was followed by 2 minute silence. Derby kicked off and held off Casuals well with great line speed, and the first 15 minutes was slightly nervy from both sides with several knock-ons from both sides with a slippery ball. Once Derby settled the great communication from Derby proved to be a deciding factor, with the team pushing up hard and never giving casuals time to compose and make consistent clean passes. We had a solid scrum today and were able to turn over the scrum a few times either through push or stealing from the number 9. The first Derby try came from a line out on their 5m line and a break off the maul by Brandon Fowles to go over for the first try, then converted by Ben Walker. Casuals then had a player yellow-carded but they still put up a great performance during that spell.

The next Derby try came off a great pre-planned move off our scrum in their 22, with Ben Walker playing at 10 today receiving quick ball from our scrum and straight running into a gap in their defence pushed over with great support from Karun Atwal.

After halftime, our substitutes were fantastic as always, keen to drive forward and the communication was again great from Derby. Casuals pushed us really hard and after a sustained spell in our 22 they deservedly scored their first try which they duly converted. Casuals then had some confidence, but Derby stayed composed and managed to contain their fast wingers and put in great tackles. The last try from Derby was a great team try moving from left to right and 2 quick phases to then allow Luke Knight to go over for our third Try.

Derby’s communication and volume throughout the whole match was probably the difference between 2 evenly matched teams.
The Derby line speed, tackling and teamwork was the other key contributor to a well deserved win today. One of the Nottingham Casuals winger unfortunately left the pitch with a bad knee injury and we wish him a speedy recovery.

The Derby boys were delighted with the win and really great to see the line speed drills we have been working hard on in training coming into the game. Final score 7-17.

Derby U16s vs Ilkeston – NLD Cup Round 2

The under 13s second round of the NLD came round this weekend and the team welcomed Ilkeston to the club. The boys warmed up well and joined all junior teams on the AGP for a two minutes silence at 11am. It’s important to note here how wonderful all teams were for this act of Remembrance and how proud all the coaches were across the club.

The game play itself started with force and Derby were swift to put their hard work into a strong defence and the excellent rucking skills we’ve come to expect from the lads.

Ilkeston are a formidable opponent and despite the best efforts of the Derby side, Ilkeston scored great tries by the half way point of the match.

Injuries on both sides, although not too serious, led to several changes and allowed all players a stretch of play.
Derby continued to put in the hard work and came close to tries on several occasions, missing my mere inches three times.
Once again, the scrums were full on and eventful. It’s pleasing to see how well the lads have worked to get into making the most of this during match conditions.

Ilkeston romped home with a total of seven tries making the score 0-35 by the full time whistle.

Although the score was far from desirable for Derby, the coaches are pleased to see the strong development of the team as a whole. It’s not easy to take on competitive matches after a loss the week prior, but the boys worked hard and kept their heads up. Our NLD journey is not over, simply altered in terms of which competition set we are in. There are lots of lessons learned from this match and areas of development have been identified.

Man of the Match went to Leon Colliar this week for work in all areas of the match, including some fantastic sprints towards the try line.