July 31, 2021

Derby Elks suffer first loss of the season

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Consistency of players selection has been an issue for the Derby Elks this season due to various reasons but with every player that isn’t available it provides an opportunity for the club to promote another player and try players in different positions. Today was one of those days!

Debut for Andy Elder and Bayleigh Steemson-Weir, with the latter following in his Dad’s footsteps and wearing the green and black of Derby.

Intermittent arrivals of players wasn’t ideal however regardless of this the home side very quickly exposed the weakness of the Elks defence, attacking the same side twice and resulting in converted tries. After 17 minutes the Royals deft kick in the Derby 20 metre area was met by five attacking players and the solitary full back for Derby, another converted try was the result but the quality of the play deserved one!

This was followed six minutes later with a central converted try. Leamington heads were understandably up holding the momentum and unless Derby started focusing and bringing the games pace back to their style the potential of a cricket score was feasible. The Elks weren’t playing badly just simply were being outplayed and changes were made to the structure of the team and Derby started to settle. The last ten minutes of the half turned towards the away teams favour (with the exception of a try out wide out of nowhere!) Structure returned and if it hadn’t been for a couple of ill discipline actions they could have broken the Royals line.

Half Time – Leamington Royals RL 28 Derby Elks RL 0

The second half was a different proposition altogether for Derby, continued interchanges started to reap rewards. In only the second minute of the half replacement Prop Tomas Anderson hit contact and reached over the line for a try towards the right of the post, sadly the conversion was missed by Hooker Niall Collett. 

Small steps were being achieved however the home side weren’t going to roll over and almost immediately scored a converted try. This was quickly followed with Tatenda Chirata scoring his eight try of the campaign busting down the left wing to score, converted by Collett.

Ten minutes of the second half completed, Leamington 34 Derby 10.

Derby continued to have the lion’s share of the possession of this half but pressure by the Royals coupled with a couple of peculiar decisions it was 10 minutes before the next score, Half Back George Doughty picked up a bouncing ball to score between the posts, converted by Collett.

The game ebbed and flowed with both teams completing their sets, Royals completed their scoring of the day in the 36th minute with a converted try but the improved attitude of the Elks side was further rewarded by Steemson-Weir scoring his debut try for the club with almost the last play of the match.

Final score Leamington Royals RL 40 Derby Elks RL 20

Many players stepped up today for Derby with Captain Joe Doughty leading from the front with his wingmen Lewis Sturgess and Jake Pilgrim working hard, second rows Stephen Hunt and Alex Brown keeping their shape well but it was the backs that had the greatest upheaval with selection and adapted the most, George Doughty and Joshua Jackson working the moves with the inexperienced players quickly moving into the correct positions and executing well. Lessons were learnt, some players stepped up but more importantly the young side competed, kept their spirit high and worked for each other.

The Ilkeston RUFC Chairman’s man of the match award went to Joshua Jackson for an inventive and courageous performance all afternoon.

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