JC Balls Belper RFC earned a 21-19 home cup victory over Chesterfield Panthers on Saturday.
Last season, Chesterfield dominated Midland Four East (North) and were promoted, but Belper’s young side turned in a good display to beat them.
Belper welconed back James Naylor from his travels and gave a debut to Craig Innocent, and both were heavily involved in the opening throws, Innocent knocking holes in the visitors’ defence and Naylor snipping and covering every inch of the field.
Belper opened the scoring with a full team try. Forwards Yorke, Carter and Holmes retained and recycled the ball in the ruck to set the backs on their way with quick hands moving the ball wide to Hallam, who outgassed his opposite number to fly in at the corner. Stones expertly converted near the line to make it 7-0.
Chesterfield were shellshocked as Belper subjected them to wave after wave of pressure. Yorke and Holmes combined well, driving deep into the visitors’ 22 to feed Innocent, who was tackled a yardfrom the line. Haines was quick in support and picked and crashed over in the corner. Stones again slotted home the conversion brilliantly, this time from the opposite line.
15 minutes, Belper scored their final try with Bacon smashing holes in the centre, releasing the supporting Mordue, who sped towards the corner. He was tackled inches short, popped the ball to the supporting Chalkin, who stepped through a gap to score. Stones made it three out of three to give Belper a 21-0 lead.
From then on though, it was Chesterfield who seemed to raise their game, scoring three tries but only converting two. Belper held on with chances for them to extend their lead, but mistakes, and Chesterfield’s defence being so strong, ultimately thwarted them in their bid to score another try.
Belper’s resilience in defence saw Gray, Holmes and Naylor making some incredible tackles to maintain the lead.
At the end of the game, new coach Bryan Wardle congratulated his team, praising their determination and spirit, which will hopefully push on well for the rest of the season.
This Saturday, they start their Midlands Four East (North) season with a game at Tupton.
Meanwhile, the 2nd team earned an impressive 39-22 win on Saturday against a strong Long Eaton side. Three tries were scored by Andy Laven with Owen Smith and Oliver Dyer adding two each