1 April 1XV Match Report: Manchester 31-38 Derby

Derby travelled to Grove Park to play the first of three pool matches in The Papa John’s Regional Plate.

Manchester had finished 8th in Regional 1 North West; the same level of rugby as Derby, who had finished 8th in Regional 1 Midlands, so a good contest was expected.

Derby kicked off and were soon on the attack. They opened the scoring after 8 minutes, when a series of forward drives culminated in Mike Johns scoring his 1st try for the side.

Josh Bingham added the conversion.

8 minutes later, Derby scored again. Good hands from Ethan Pearson allowed Josh Bingham and McGrath Van Wyk to send Will Town clear and he scored. Josh Bingham converted.

Derby then lost Jim Hather to a shoulder injury and Sam Pittman to a head knock. George Borakis came on for his debut as Derby reshuffled their pack.

Manchester were working their way into the game and were attacking the Derby line, when they lost the ball. Quick as a flash, Cam Finley had the ball and sprinted 80 metres to touch down under the posts. Josh Bingham added the extras.

On 27 minutes, Manchester got on the scoreboard with a try.

Just before half time, Manchester were attacking again, but again lost the ball. Derby kicked downfield and Cam Finlay easily won the foot race, gathered the ball and touched down again. Josh Bingham’s conversion put Derby 28 – 5 ahead at the break.

The 2nd half could not have started any worse for Derby. Only 7 minutes had elapsed and Manchester had scored 2 converted tries, while Derby had Jake Barker in the sin bin.

After 60 minutes, Manchester scored again, when a superb offload created the space for the try. This left Derby 4 points up, with Manchester scenting blood.

Manchester were attacking again, when for the 3rd time in the match they lost the ball and Derby scored. McGrath Van Wyk kicked ahead and this time it was the pace of Will Town that enabled him to score. Josh Bingham converted for the 5th time.

Callum Jones claimed the kick off and Ethan Pearson took the ball on. Manchester were penalised. Josh Bingham kicked the penalty and Derby were 14 points ahead with 8 minutes left.

4 minutes remained when Ethan Pearson became the 2nd Derby player to receive a yellow card. Manchester scored a converted try, with 2 minutes left to set up a grandstand finish, but Derby repelled everything Manchester threw at them and acclaimed the victory at the final whistle.

A fine win, showing the tremendous ‘never say die’ attitude that has served them so well in this enjoyable season.

The next pool match sees Sandal travel to Haslams on 15th April

Come on Derby!

Report by: R. Bambra