Depleted Ripley Rhinos battled hard and played some good rugby but ultimately lost 35-23 in a friendly at Derby Vets.
Rhinos began well and opened the scoring with a try from scrum half Mitch Wilmott, converted by captain Will Evans. The lead then changed hands several times as Derby scored four unconverted tries, with fly half Evans replying with two penalties.
20-13 down at half-time, Rhinos needed to start the second half well but let in an early, soft converted try. Another score from Wilmott brought them back into contention but a Derby penalty extended their lead. A third Rhino try from hooker Craig Culshaw threatened to make the game interesting but a final Derby try saw them come off the pitch 35-23 winners.
This was a decent game, very well refereed, and played in good spirit. Rhinos had patches of real attacking prowess but need to cut out their defensive lapses which allowed Derby the chance to play the rugby to win this game.
On a boiling hot afternoon, it was flanker Liam Murcott who won the Abex Window Cleaning Contractors Man of the Match award from his teammates for his complete display in the back row.