Belper fell at the quarter-final stage of this year’s RFU Junior Vase cup after they were beaten 15-5 by Cleobury Mortimer.
It was the first time Belper had reached this stage of the competition, but they came up short against a very good Cleobury side who are currently top of their respective league averaging over 60 points per game.
The visiting side started well and scored in the opening few minutes. From a line out they mauled the ball well and their flanker managed to squeeze through a gap to score.
This woke Belper up and they started to get decent possession in the Cleobury half, but couldn’t quite unlock a tough defence.
Breaks from Dakin, Roberts and Jake Holmes were piling on the pressure, but unfortunately coming to nothing.
Naylor and Watson were trying their best to break the away side up, but their rush defence prevented the ball going to the Belper pace men out wide.
When Bacon and Chalkin got the ball theY were shut down very effectively.
As the half grew on Cleobury broke down the Belper right and good support play gave them a second try.
This was converted and Belper trailed 12-0-at half-time.
Belper made several changes to try and get back into the game. Innocent came on to the back row, Peverell came into the centre and Brewster into the front row.
This worked well and Belper dominated the half, but it was the same story as the first as they failed to break a resolute visiting defence.
Cleobury were strong at the break down, but were infringing and the penalty count was rising.
It took until the last 15 minutes before the referee took action as he sinbinned Cleobury’s centre.
Belper’s edge of recent weeks was not quite there and that was the deciding factor.
In their only visit to the home sides’ half ceobury sneaked a drop goal to leave Belper having to score three times to get back in the game.
With seven minutes to go Belper managed to get on the score sheet. From more pressure in the visiting half Rory peverell charged down a kick and expertly managed to regain his footing, pick the ball up and score before the defence could react.
Belper again came close in the dying seconds when pressure from Tony England led to Belper getting the ball and Sam Chalkin coming close to score from his own kick.
Despite the loss Belper can learn from this and hopefully continue their fine form in the league when they face Worksop next Saturday.