Midlands Division 3
Belper 1st XV 37pts
Amber Valley 1st XV 20pts
BELPER RFC extended their winning start to the season to three from three as they took the local derby plaudits.
On the hottest day ever recorded in October, this was always going to be a tough local derby, especially as the visitors had described Belper as their ‘third team’.
Valley brought a very experienced and strong pack and they dominated up front throughout the match.
Belper had to use their better pace, skill and fitness level to compete against the powerful visiting unit.
The early stages were tight but although the visitors had played mainly in the home half, Belper found themselves 6-0 up in the first 20 minutes through well-taken penalties by Simon Jones.
Valley struck back with a penalty of their own before Belper began to gain some possession.
Quick hands from returning captain Tony England released the powerful Griffiths down the line. He beat several defenders before putting Steve Roberts in for his first try for the club.
The hosts grew stronger as the half went on and it quickly appeared that they were the team playing the rugby while Valley relied on their power up front.
From a ruck, England stole the ball and released the evergreen Holmes who outpaced the defence to put Belper two tries up.
Valley struck back through their forwards with a try of their own to finish the half.
The second half began with Valley enjoying the majority of possession.
Their pressure led to a sin bin for the Belper second row and this led to a push over try from the visitors.
They had the upper hand but a quick visit into the Valley half saw James Naylor go over with a lovely solo effort.
Belper were then reduced to 13 after Watson was sent to the bin for fighting with the opposing winger. Both were given a ten minute rest for their efforts.
Valley were enjoying a purple patch and their power again proved too much as they went over the Belper line again.
The home side tried to raise the intensity of the game but with too many disruptions and injuries they couldn’t get into their flow.
When Belper did return to 15 on the pitch they took the game away from the visitors.
An excellent team move put in Griffiths on the wing and Simon Jones added to his tally with a well taken try to finish off the scoring.
Young Frank Watson was unlucky not to score as he beat the entire team only to be called back for an earlier crossing.
The young players Simon Carter and Watson really stepped up during this game. Their determination and presence during the game shows the future of this club is in safe hands. A well deserved victory for Belper who in parts played some excellent rugby.
Man of the match went to Merv Holmes. He covered every blade of grass and tackled everything that moved showing why he is best number seven this club has ever had.
Three wins on the spin but this week brings a visit to high flying Ashby.