Regional 1 Midlands Round 8: Derby 26-24 Bridgnorth

The early morning rain had given way to constant drizzle as Derby ran out at The University of Derby. The game had been moved due to flood damage at Haslams.

Archie Partridge made his debut from the bench and Josh Bingham made his return from injury, also from the bench.

Derby kicked off, but it was Bridgnorth who struck first, with a converted try after 5 minutes.

17 minutes had elapsed when a superb Will Town run ended with a penalty to Derby. McGrath Van Wyk duly kicked the 3 points.

4 minutes later, Bridgnorth scored another converted try to extend their lead.

Derby started to press and forced Bridgnorth to concede a number of penalties. From a tap penalty, Sam Tebbs forced his way over the line for a try. Ben Wilcox added the conversion. Bridgnorth hit back with a penalty of their own before another Bridgnorth converted try put them 24 – 10 ahead.

The final play of the half saw Ben Wilcox kick a penalty, to narrow the gap to 11 points.

The half time score gave little clue as to the excitement to follow!

Derby started the second half well, but were unable to break through strong Bridgnorth defence. The only reward they had for 10 minutes of pressure was a Ben Wilcox penalty.

The next 20 minutes saw Dereby dominate, with Bridgnorth defending superbly to keep them out.

7 minutes remained. Derby were still 8 points down and in danger of getting nothing out of the game.

A deliberate knock on saw a Bridgnorth player sent to the bin. Was this Derby’s opportunity?

Both sides missed kicks at goal, before Ben Wilcox struck with a long range penalty to bring Derby within 5 points.

1 minute plus injury time remained.

Derby kept probing and in the 5th minute of injury time, prop Jeri Oldfield received the ball on the wing. He powered towards the line, beat the last defender and scored a magnificent try in the corner to tie the scores. Up stepped Ben Wilcox. His conversion, the last kick of the game, sailed between the posts and Derby had won!

A tremendous comeback from Derby, built on a ‘never say die’ attitude.

A trip to Stoke awaits next week; should it ever stop raining!

Come on Derby!

Report by: R. Bambra

Photos from Shaun Hardwick: