June 27, 2021
Telford Raiders continue domination of 4g!
A much changed Derby Elks team made the longest trip of the season to play Telford Raiders RL at the Phoenix Leisure Centre. Typically they left a damp cool area to travel to a hot west of the Midlands, coupled with a 4G artificial pitch this was going to be hard work!
Changes were enforced due to change of date of fixture coupled with a number of niggly injuries, this was a great opportunity for players from the Development team to have the opportunity to grasp their deserved opportunity albeit in unfamiliar positions. It was what it was!
Typical with a long away game, arrivals were sporadic, then getting changed pitch side due to Covid restrictions hampered a normal pre match process. The home side were more familiar with this process along with their pitch and within a minute of the kick off the Raiders had already broken the Elks whitewash. Unconverted, 4-0 to the home side. Wake up call? Not really, Telford continued to dominate and if it wasn’t for some stern defence from the Derby the game could have been over very quickly.
The next twenty minutes was relatively even with inroads being made by both attacking forwards, Lewis Sturgess, Captain Joe Doughty and Stephen Hunt (being the only regular forwards!) continued to test the blue line, quick plays distributed by Hooker Niall Collett allowed the backs to fed valuable ball through the returning Ed Barker and impressive George Doughty who continued where he left of last week. The 25th minute and opportunist break by Collett saw him even the scores up. Collett converted 4-6 to Derby.
Two minutes later Tatenda Chirata, another of the players stepping up scored his first try of the day to further allow the away team an opportunity for a deserved lead, again converted by Collett. 4-12 to Derby.
Next ten minutes yardage were even and the last couple minutes of the half exploded! Firstly Telford scored unconverted try in the right corner after some strange administration from the referee that saw the Derby centre flattened by a support runner and the Telford player hitting the gap, play to the whistle, try scored……… Derby were not to be undeterred and finished the first half with a return set of their own, second tackle Chirata broke through some soft tackles to score to the left of the posts, sadly conversion missed.
Half Time Telford Raiders RL 8 Derby Elks RL 16
Heat and the intense pressure Telford had been putting on Derby, many bodies were broken, two players out for the game, coupled with the need to ensure that all travelling players got game time, changes were made. Surely a Winger can play Second row, well that’s what happened whether he wanted to or not!
The second half for the away team was a disappointment, decisions not going the correct way, rushed plays, indecisive passes, but all in all an opportunity to learn. Telford took the game by the scruff of the neck and continued to drive forward scoring 5 unanswered tries. Both teams were reduced to 12 players with a sinbin for Derby going to Jon Doughty unhappy with a tackle to one of his players which potentially could have had serious repercussions, however he pays his £5 fine and is too old to learn I guess!
Full Time Telford Raiders RL 34 Derby Elks RL 16
The Ilkeston RUFC Chairman’s man of the match award going to the impressive Lewis Sturgess but could have gone to 2-3 players!
Afternoon marred by the serious injury to Full Back Craig Woodason who was brilliantly aided by Physio Connor Drury and the Telford staff, taken to hospital for scan and tests and thankfully released a number of hours later with muscle damage to his shoulder but expected to make a speedy recovery. Travel to Telford Raiders continues to be a challenge with Derby still unable to achieve a positive result in over 9 years of trying!