Regional 1 Midlands Round 15: Banbury 24-32 Derby

It was a venture into the unknown as Derby’s coaches and players knew little about a team placed higher in the league.  It was a welcome back for Josh Bingham making his 100th appearance for the club.  Late changes forced Jake Roome to the bench joining David Cowell and Josh Roberts.  Ben Wilcock moved to fullback in the absence of McGrath Van Wyk.  Ethan Pearson partnered Lewis Hancock in the centre and Cameron Finlay took over on the wing.  In the pack, it was a welcome back for Jerri Oldfield and Rhondell Stabana.

Derby looked like a team focused and determined to win.  However, in a topsy-turvy game they conceded four tries and nine penalties.  From the start, Derby went on the attack and Ben Wilcock kicked a penalty after four minutes.  Cameron Finlay was then given a Yellow Card for a deliberate knock-on.  Immediately, Ethan Pearson made light of it with a great break in the centre before passing to Joe Acton for a try.  Wilcock added the extra points for a lead that they maintained.  Banbury had the edge in the scrums with their strong and bulky pack and from a scrum, fullback, Mills, scored a try converted by stand-off, Triggs.  Finlay returned from the Bin and showed terrific speed as he swerved and sprinted through a bewildered defence as he made his way for a try in the corner.  Josh Bingham did well to convert.  Banbury then played to their strength and from a lineout their catch and drive took them over the line for No.6, Ding to claim the try.   It was pleasing to note the way Derby’s forwards and backs combined to create gaps.  Jerri Oldfield exploited one such gap as he powered his way for an unconverted try.  This was quickly followed by Ben Wilcock whose acceleration saw him scythe past the defence for a touchdown under the posts.  Bingham added the extra points to extend Derby’s lead at the interval.  

Banbury started the second half well and once again they scored a push-over try.  This time, it was No.7, Hibbert, who got it.  When Josh Bingham calmly kicked a penalty, Derby looked secure.  David Cowell replaced George Pollock and Josh Roberts replaced Nathan Beven-Brown.  A mystifying decision saw Sam Tebbs given a Yellow Card.  Banbury exploited their one-man advantage in the pack and No.8, Mc Cubin peeled off the back of a scrum to claim their Try Bonus, which Triggs converted.  

Though Derby had to defend well, they ended the game attacking the Banbury line.  It was a much better performance than last week with less handling errors and quicker to the break downs.

It will be a tough game at home to Stoke-On-Trent next Saturday as they seek to do the double on Derby.  Please do come and give your vocal support.

Report by: Gerry Sherry