Good start fades away

RFU Senior Vase, 2nd round

Eccleshall 30pts

Belper 1st XV 28pts

BELPER RFC first XV exited the RFU Senior Vase competition despite a gutsy showing from a much-changed side.

Seven changes were made and it proved to be tough going, although Belper put in a very good performance.

The black and whites shot out of the blocks and were two tries up before their hosts knew what had hit them.

Young Watson started at centre and gave an excellent display of tough tackling and strong running.

Belper’s first try came from another jinking run from James Naylor whose backs supported him well. Quick ball and good hands from Emslie and England led to Jack Blount going over the line for the first score.

The second try came seconds later when man of the match Tom Mathews stole the ball from the opposition and then beat several defenders before going over the line for an excellent individual try.

A close contender for man of the match was blind side Steve Roberts. It was easily his best game in a Belper shirt. His tough tackling and breaks were awesome.

Luck didn’t favour Belper though. After they had conceded their first penalty of the game, they were very unlucky to see Andy Yorke sin binned.

This was followed by a very sporting gesture from the home captain who asked for a yellow and the ref duly obliged.

The young home side struck back with two tries of their own for a half-time score of 12-10.

With good rugby skills again on show, the game was always going to sway both ways.

Shortly into the second half, Belper were back in the lead following a penalty from Simon Jones and the visitors stretched their lead with the best try of the game.

A break from Naylor saw him feed his back line. With over half the pitch still to go, Watson broke and kept his defenders at bay before shipping to Aaron Holmes who finished brilliantly in the corner.

Belper were again reduced to 14 with Holmes seeing yellow for an alleged kick out at an Eccleshall player.

The away team also lost Roberts, but with back up on the bench in the shape of Tom Shea they didn’t miss out with his tough talking and impact play.

The home side then scored twice while Belper were adjusting to the changes. This took them six points up.

Belper’s resolve again shone through and still with 14 on the pitch, they broke downfield.

Great support saw Naylor go through. As he was tackled, and kicked in the head, he dropped the ball for Tony England to cleverly chip through and score for Belper. Belper now 1 point up but down to 13 players.

The kick to the soft headed Naylor was to much and had be removed from the field of play.

Eccleshall struck back with a penalty of their own before Belper did the same. Now back to 14 Belper tried to hang on but Eccleshall got a lucky penalty to move them back in the lead and winning the game.

This Saturday, Belper host Worksop in the league.