May 10, 2022

Match Report: Dearne Valley v Derby Elks – 07/05/2022

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A momentous day for Derby Elks Rugby League, making their inaugural appearance in the Yorkshire Men’s League, positioned in League 5 this was going to be a big learning and development for the young players and it all started with an away game in Barnsley against Dearne Valley Bulldogs ARLFC.

These met each other back in July 2013 for a tough friendly but was the first time in a competitive game for many years.

Players arrived punctually and set about getting the season going, decent warm up, conditions were very pleasant, and the growing crowd were looking forward to a spectacle.

From the kickoff the home side applied pressure and tested the defence out with their powerful forwards however at this point to no avail. After only 5 minutes an opportunity down the left side with winger Sam Adey breaking through cutting the ball back inside for Full Back Matt Fitt to score his debut try for the club just to the left of the post, Hooker Niall Collett adding the extras, 6-0 to the Elks.

Only four minutes later and almost a carbon copy however Adey crossed the line again unconverted this time. Home supporters were stunned.

Sadly, Derby believed that rather than playing sets they started to push the play almost union style so rather than taking the tackle and resetting, balls were thrown uncharacteristically. One of these resulted in a scrum to the Bulldogs who immediately wondered through the static defence to score, unconverted. Score after 14 minutes was Dearne Valley Bulldogs 4 Derby Elks 10

Dearne from the kickoff again capitalized of a lose carry, allowing an attacking scrum and the half back just ghosted through to score under the posts 10 apiece.

Already the Elks are showing character and rather than allowing their heads to drop an expansive play down the right edge of the pitch saw Second Row Lewis Elliman stretch over the line and score an unconverted try, The Elks were back in front 14 points to 10.

With 6 minutes of the half remaining a wide pass to the Dearne winger saw him crash over in the corner, unconverted 14 to 14.

The Bulldogs weren’t finished for the half as just before the whistle the Derby side stood static and allowed the Dearne player to walk through to score, unconverted.

Half Time score – Dearne Valley Bulldogs 18 Derby Elks 14

Second half kicks off and here the game turns to the home side with a quick fire show of attack scoring two converted tries, 30 minutes to go and the Elks were 30 points to 14 down. In the past we might have imploded however all the players reset and understood what they needed to improve on against a decent Dearne side.

Hooker Collett tried to orchestrate plays with the forwards but some players still learning and others tiring it was always going to be hard but they continued in valor.

An opportunity down the right side could have changed the game to the away team’s fortunes however the Elks player placed the ball down on the 10 metres line rather than the try line even though space in front, we move on!

This saw centre Abe Su’a break a couple of tackles down the left of the posts to score a converted try by Collett. 30 points to 20 to the home side. The Bulldogs started to create more opportunities however the smaller Derby side continued to match them, defensive work from Owen Gregory, Stephen Hunt, Alex Brown and Elliman almost always matched the bigger Dearne forwards. Captain Joe Doughty continued to lead by example attacking and defending very well.

A drop goal from Dearne followed immediately by an unconverted try put the home side back on the front foot. Nine minutes to go and Dearne were leading 35 points to 20.

Not one of the Derby players heads dropped, the new Half Back pairing of George Doughty and Cyrus Griffiths throughout the game provided options and opportunities for the team to build on and bodes well for the future with this youth. Not to be outdone replacement Jamie Baxter, now one of the older members of the team used his experience to stretch the defensive with a miss pass for Alex Brown to score, with two minutes to go converted by Collett this summed up the great attitude of this team to not give up.

Final Score – Dearne Valley Bulldogs 35 Derby Elks 24

Ilkeston RUFC Chairmans man of the match award going to Cyrus Griffiths, with the opposition voting Joe Doughty as their man of the match for Derby.

Great start for the club with every player contributing to a well spirited game, entertaining the crowd and providing a great spectacular. We welcome Crigglestone All Blacks next Saturday at home.

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