Junior Games Report: 20 November 2022

Derby U16s vs West Bridgford

Derby welcomed West Bridgeford to Haslams lane in a fixture neither side had played since they were U12’s!

Derby had just come off a good NLD victory and we used this as an opportunity to blood some new players as well as try out some players in new positions. WB started well and put some good pressure on the Derby line, however, Derby held them out with some desperate try-line defence. However, eventually, the pressure told and they broke through some tired defending to crash over from 5m out. They then hit back again going over shortly after that with some good close-range work again to lead 0-12. However, Derby came roaring back with some good wide play, Will Flaherty marking his first start at FB by going over in the corner. However, WB again went over through their forwards. Jack Sharp duly brought us back to within 1 score from his wing after spreading it wide again to make it 12-17 at halftime. Derby then spent 10 mins camped on the WB try line just after that but were unfortunately held out by some spirited defence, leading to an I’ll timed turnover. The forwards then put it together by crashing over from a maul from 5m out to take the lead at 19-17.

WB then struck again through some tired tackles to take the score to 19-22 with 5 mins to play. Derby tried to play through the phases to take the lead but WB managed to turn the ball over every single time we made some headway, leading to them going over for 2 long-distance scores in the final 5. Giving an even game a somewhat unreflective scoreline of 19-34.

Notable performances from Derby included a multifaceted performance from our hooker Kyle who played the whole 60 mins, providing accurate darts, multiple carries and hard tackling. Sam Dickens lead the way at 10 in the backs with some crucial hits to keep WB at bay whilst also using his backline well. Derby deserved far more than they got from this game but ultimately first-up tackling proved the difference. Plenty of work ons going into NLD round 3 in 2 weeks’ time!

Derby U15s vs Melbourne

Derby welcomed our friends from Melbourne over for a joint training session and game, allowing both backs and forwards to competitively train against one another. Melbourne arrived in great numbers ~ 30 lads which was great to see. Derby on the other hand, whilst Inviting ~30 odd players, due to sprains, illness, resting, teenager-itus… managed to gather up just 17 – they were going to have to work hard!

After some lovely work form both Melbourne and Derby Forwards coaches, both packs had time to develop and improve their line-out work in defence and attack. Likewise, the Derby and Melbourne’s backs took time to compare hair styles, and footwear and also managed to fit in some competitive running lines and defensive lines.

Game time:- with such a large squad (a good problem to have!) Melbourne setup with 2 different teams, fielding 2 different styles of play. During the first 20 minutes, the Derby forwards held the possession well, giving the backs plenty of opportunities to put the previous straight-line running into practice. The outcome, 5 tries to Melbourne 1, tries came mainly from Derby’s strong forward running both forwards and backs. Whilst Melbourne did have some good breakaways, they were halted quickly by Thomas Bull at 15 or the rallying team of Derby all chasing back together.

The second half saw Melbourne field some fresh legs and newfound intensity. Melbourne quickly put more bodies into the rucks, often catching the tiering Derby legs off guard, winning turnovers, and some penalties from counter-rucking & Jackling. Derby didn’t give up however with Melbourne now putting in a couple of tries to Derbys 1, neither side wanted to concede. Derby found themselves often camped in Melbourne 22, but struggled to capitalise, often from not quite utilizing the overlaps perceived easy walk-ins allowing Melbourne forwards to put in a massive defensive effort.

Whilst there were a few penalties here and there, it was small margins, and due to both teams pushing themselves, often being too keen for the jackal after not releasing the tackler, a few “holding on, “not wanting to let go of the ball, often from lack of support players, or coming in from the sides of rucks, not quite through the gate/hands in the rucks. Having said that, both sides conducted themselves exceptionally well and played a good standard of Rugby, many commented after the game on how exciting it was to watch, a credit to both clubs. Final score Derby 6 tries to Melbournes 2.

The first-time Derby captain on the day was Billy Brewin, well done Billy. Backs lead and nominated man of the match from Melbourne was Ethan Harrison. Derby nominated man of the match was this season newcomer Emanual “Manii” Kamara, who played the most amount of game time he’s ever done this season, well done Mani! and scored a try! Some other points of note, spirited and brave individual tackling efforts from newcomers Jacob Smith and Jimmy Fry, – well done both. Each Derby player had to dig deep today, many had to try out new positions which was also lovely to see, the small squad had to work together and put in a shift, which they did. It was clear in the clubhouse afterwards that regardless of the tries scored, both Melbourne and Derby players were smiling and retelling plays from the game, both sides looking forward to meeting up in a few week’s time..

Derby U14s vs Long Eaton – NLD Cup

Derby travelled to Long Eaton today for their 2nd round NLD match.

Under bright sunshine, Derby won the toss and elected to play with the Sun behind them. Long Eaton started really strongly with their full-back picking up the ball after 1 quick phase and running through the Derby defence to score under the posts in the opening minute. Derby responded well and gained considerable possession and territory and really stepped up the tackles too. We won a penalty in front of the posts just outside the 22, and we then elected to kick to touch. Our first score was from that line out and maul and blind side break-off by Brandon Fowles to go over for the try.

This was closely followed by another great team play of several phases pushing deep into their 22 before Karun Atwal drove over for our second try. With a half-time score 7-12.

Derby started well again but Long Eaton bought on a great talent on the wing that added real punch for them. Derby created a great team try move passing the ball through multiple hands and lay-offs, allowing Brandon Fowles to go over for his 2nd try. Long Eaton responded quickly and scored their converted try after another strong run by their Fullback. The match was now evenly poised at 19-19, and Derby went again deep into their half and after some more great play between forwards and backs, Rocco De Rosa-Webb drove a great line to go over under the posts. But the clock kept ticking, and Long Eaton responded quickly with their own well-worked try and a great conversion from near the touchline to draw back level at 26-26. Then in the final few seconds of the game, Long Eaton moved the ball well and used their fresh legs on the wing to go over for a try. Final score 31-26.

We are so proud of the boys today, they put in their best-ever team performance, and regularly were playing some amazing rugby. The spectators from both teams agreed it was the best game of rugby they’d seen in ages, and the result could have gone either way. A real shame for Derby but loads of positives to take forward and many players had their best game yet including Derby’s man of the match – Luke Knight.

The Derby boys were very respectful at the end of the match and represented the club very well today and should be very proud of themselves. We thank Long Eaton for their hospitality and wish them good luck in the rest of the competition.

Derby U13s vs Barton