25 March 23 2XV Match Report: Matlock 26-27 Derby

In breezy conditions, Derby faced a strengthened Matlock side determined to deny Derby 2nds their undefeated record in the last league game of the season.  McGrath Van Wyk made a welcome return after months out through injury.  The combination of him and Tom Bigland as half backs was necessary after the injuries sustained against Tupton.

It was a good start for Derby when Cameron Finlay caught the ball in his own half and sprinted and weaved his way round defenders to score under the posts.  Van Wyk tapped it over for the extra points.  However, Matlock were winning the break down battles and Derby conceded four penalties for holding the ball.  Some good Matlock forward pressure and a good pass enabled Andy Elder to cut through for a try converted by Harry Siddal.  Van Wyk kicked a penalty to regain Derby’s lead.  However, a missed tackle allowed a break in the centre and a clear sprint by winger, Luke Ager, ended in a try converted by Siddal.

At the break Thompson replaced Johns at prop and Finlay moved to scrumhalf after Tom Bigland switched to his normal position on the wing.  Van Wyk kicked a penalty to reduce the deficit to one point but missed another one minutes later.  He made amends when quick ball from the scrum opened up a gap, which he exploited to score and convert his own try. giving Derby a six-points lead.  In the scrums Derby got the upper hand and quicker ball from Finlay put Derby on the front foot.  Taking a quick penalty, Cameron Finlay cut through a static defence to score his second try converted by Van Wyk.  Undaunted, Matlock fought back with two late tries by Kyle Smith.  Harry Siddal converted one and missed the second with the last kick of the game, leaving Derby the winners by a single point. 

After the game Derby President, Gerry Sherry, presented skipper, Josh Ridley, with a large cup and two bottles of champagne to mark the occasion.  Team Manager, Graham Finlay, said “As a new coaching setup, myself and Ollie George are immensely proud of the squad’s achievements and how they’ve grown as a group. Their dedication, determination and resilience have kept them head and shoulders above those in the league.! 

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Final Table for Derby 2XV