June 15, 2021
Derby Elks triumph over New Ravens
For the first time in almost 6 years, Derby Elks were able to field a second team in the league travelling to NEW Ravens new ground in Birmingham. With a healthy amount of players training at the club currently, numbers allowed the club to field a team with a mixture of first time players along with inexperienced/developing players intermingled with players offering experience to those around them. Imperative that the focus was game time and putting into action what they had learned in training. Eight debuts for the club with six of these being debuts to league itself!
Conditions were very hot and humid and with a match day squad of eighteen players this allowed returning Head Coach Grant Hunter plenty of opportunity to rotate players when needed.
Ravens in comparison to the young Elks team had a typical rugby league setup with decent size in the forwards while Derby due to availabilities were limited and went for the sleek back approach which throughout the game whilst had it’s advantages at times Ravens caused the away team plenty of tests, making gains in yards and battering bodies!
It only took Derby a little over 5 minutes to score the first try, quick hands through across the right allowing debut Tatenda Chirata on the wing to step in and then out and break past the opposition winger to score near the posts, this was converted by Captain Joe Doughty 0-6 to Derby Elks. Ravens returned fire and a close penalty near the line saw Ravens huge prop score a converted try. Derby had to sustain a lot of pressure in the midfield and only strong tackling from Doughty and Alex Brown amongst others protected the Derby half. An Elks penalty put them into the Ravens twenty metres, some left and right plays eventually saw the ‘youngster’ Jon Doughty stretch for his typical 5 metre try of the third tackle again converted by Doughty. Again Ravens fought back for an unconverted try but Chirata took a ball centre field, broke a couple of tackles and scored his second under the posts, converted by Doughty. The last twenty minutes of the first half saw Raven score a couple more unconverted tries and the impressive debutant centre Will Trethewey scored two tries, both in similar fashion, strong contact and breaking with pace of which one was converted by Doughty. Half Time NEW Ravens 18 Derby Elks A 28
Normally Ravens would start to lose shape but they continued to provide a great test to the Elks, constantly using their size to create damage and make yardage, the referee became unhappy with the discipline of the Derby players which made the afternoon even harder however a regroup and refocus got the young side back on track and whilst Ravens scored another two tries this half, the main rewards went to the away team. Running in 5 further tries, Chirata for two more meaning he finished with four tries for the game, a first for Derby for winger Syd Blease who took advantage of some pinball kicking/passing in the centre to score, playing to the referee! Alex Brown was rewarded for all his defensive work with a black eye and a try left of the posts and finally Ellis Jackson was light a whippet down the same side and scored a try, converted by Lewis Thompson. Full Time NEW Ravens 28 Derby Elks A 50
A great advert for the game, played in the right spirit and with the ethos of being about developing players in a competitive structure. The statistics showed that with some composure the Elks team could have expanded on this score but it allows us something to focus on in training and prepare for next weeks trip to play Nottingham Outlaws A at Lenton Lane. Every player put in a performance and will have made the coaches start to consider options for players moving up within the club.
The Ilkeston RUFC Chairman’s man of the match award went to Tatenda Chirata as a reward for a performance which included four tries on his debut!