July 12, 2021
Derby Elks triumphant over Royals
“After last weekend’s fixtures cancellations Derby Elks were looking for an opportunity to erase the previous outing away loss at Telford Raiders and looked forward to welcoming Leamington Royals to the Stute.
Over two years since these teams had met and the Royals fixtures this season were very impressive, great in numbers and varied to the teams they were playing so Marcus Pask and his team would hopefully provide a competitive experience.
Two late dropouts that morning could have been a nightmare however almost immediately this was covered by Owen Gregory and Jake Smithurst with the latter making his first appearance for the club since 2017.
Royals kicked off and immediately caught by George Doughty who released prop Jake Pilgrim to what would become a pattern play of the game with him skittling a number of Leamington defenders as he made yards, repeated then by Joe Doughty and Lewis Sturgess.
On tackle four, ball moved down the left hand side released a hiding prop in Will Tully who drove through the visiting fullback to score within the two minutes. Conversion missed by Niall Collett.
Straight from the kick off was almost a mirror of the previous set but this time the break was down the right with fullback Charlie O’Mara releasing Thomas Lewis to score in the corner, again unconverted. After 6 minutes of the game it was Derby Elks 8 Leamington Royals 0.
The visitors when they had the ball found that generally they were deep in their half and valiantly tried to make distance forwards but line speed defence minimised this. Before the water break the Elks scored a further two tries, firstly through Thomas Pottinger breaking through three defenders to score left of the post, converted by Collett and then Sturgess went over for the first of his brace in an almost similar position. Converted by Collett.
Water break on 20 minutes came with the score Derby Elks 20 Leamington Royals 0.
Kick off restart towards the centre this time saw some adventurous play by the home side with the ball being kept in hand, a break down the left saw Tully advance towards the fullback and was validantly taken down with winger Zak Fellows just on his shoulder but a try was missed. Only a couple minutes followed before Sturgess went over again for a converted try. 26 to nil to Derby.
From that kick off we saw the Derby forwards drive down the pitch and sadly a collision with Leamington’s prop Matt Crowther brought an early finish to the match. Bethan the Royals physio and the Elks Ryan Smith immediately reacted to the injury, ambulance was called however it still meant the player and medical support spending almost 2.1/2 hours on the pitch attempting to ensure that any further damage was minimised. Initial feedback is showing Matt’s injuries not as bad as originally thought and we all wish him a speedy recovery. With the player safety being paramount along with the numerous injuries to the away team Leamington conceded the match and remaining time was spent in the bar! A long way to have travelled and prepared for to only spend less than 30 minutes playing the match!