September 7, 2022

Match Report: Birstall Victoria v Derby Elks – 04/09/22

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‘Derby Elks RL players made the trip to play their final match of the season at Batley based Birstall Victoria RL, unusually played on a Sunday but this was to ensure that the young Elks would be able to field a side as the union season had now started in earnest.

15 players stood up including a couple already carrying minor injuries and made the last jaunt in the Yorkshire league. This season had always been about the club developing and experiencing different opposition in League 5. Throughout the season Derby showed both their skill and enthusiasm, whilst results didn’t always go our way, with the exception of the match at league leaders Sherwood Wolfhunt RL we had competed and holds well for future seasons!

It didn’t take the home side long to open their account, a dropped ball at the kick off saw the ball pushed wide for a try to be scored and easily converted. This was immediately cancelled out as Second Row Bayleigh Weir used his strength to break through the home sides defence to score his seventh try of the season, converted by Liam Gavin 6.6

First injury came for the Elks as Daryl Sanders left the field, this saw Birstall break through and score another converted try. 12.6 to Birstall. The home side continued to apply pressure and were immediately rewarded with a further converted try, the half back was slotting kicks for fun today! 18.6

The first half was a very even event regardless of the score with Derby contributing field gains at all times, only coming unstuck with a dropped ball or indiscretion. This pressure finally paid off moments before kick off as Gavin threw a miss pass straight to Winger Toni Fabris for him to score in the corner.

Half Time – Birstall Victoria RL 18 Derby Elks RL 10

Due to injury, Second Row Owen Gregory moved to the wing and the loss of Centre Frank Barlow again through injury saw the already depleted Elks side face an upwards situation.

Birstall saw their opportunity coupled with a full bench and scored three converted tries in the first twenty minutes of the second half putting the score at Birstall 36 Derby Elks 10.

This is where we saw the character of the away team led by Captain Joe Doughty all the players stepped up and pushed on. This saw a break by Hooker George Doughty from the half way line weaving in and out of the Birstall defence to score between the posts, sadly conversion missed 36.14. 

From the kick off Derby advanced down the pitch, just before set completion Centre Charlie Clarke used his strength to score a great try, converted by Gavin. Great heart was shown but sadly time and depth of match day squad was always going to be against the Elks side. Birstall finished the game off with a converted try.

Final score Birstall Victoria RL 42 Derby Elks 20

Overall Derby battled well with the resources available and with 2-3 extra players the game could have been a closer/different result however the home side were worthy winners.

One of the highlights of this season is seeing the new lads enter the field representing the Elks, twenty players have completed this during the season however converted Centre Fred Chell has been one of players to have shined consistently, pushed by Prop Harry Towers, Fred is awarded the Ilkeston RUFC Chairman’s Man of the Match award for this match.

A successful first season completed in Yorkshire which should see Derby Elks finish 4th or 5th in their debut season along with the Midlands Merit team finishing joint second in that competition. This gives the club and the coaches a positive vision of how we can continue to develop for the season ahead and we thank all players, coaches, support staff and supporters’ for their assistance this year and hope to see you all in 2023.

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