A superb hat-trick of tries from Jake Holmes was the highlight of a gritty Belper away performance at Buxton RUFC on Saturday as they won 24-8.
For this rescheduled match which should originally have been played a few weeks ago, Belper had to shuffle their team with several regulars missing.
The home side started well, showing their intention of playing open rugby and using their pacy centre, but Belper handled the early attacks well and started to get a foot hold with some breaks of their own.
Buxton had the scrums in the opening half with the Belper backs struggling to get their timings right when the ball was eventually put in.
After a Belper break they were awarded a penalty within kicking distance, but as Frank Watson took the kick he lost his footing and the ball hit the defender square in the face.
Belper reacted better and from the following ruck sensational hands from Naylor, Watson, Smith and Peverell released Holmes. He still had work to do put out-paced the cover tackle to go in close to the corner, the conversion missed.
The game resumed to a battle in midfield with the home team having most of the play but never breaking the Belper line.
Just before the break Buxton tried a pass too many and Holmes intercepted, beating the full back with ease to go under the posts. The conversion was scored by Chalkin to put Belper 12-0 up at the break.
A Belper attack early in the second-half saw captain Simon Carter go over to extend the lead after good work from Bacon and Mordue, the conversion missed.
It wasn’t long before Belper added the fourth try through Holmes. This time he was released by Smith with much to do but beat several Buxton defenders before completing his hat-trick. Chalkin added the extras and the game was over as a contest.
Buxton hit back with a penalty and never stopped running at the Belper defenders, being rewarded with a late try, but this was an excellent result for Belper as not many teams will get five points against their hosts.
Next up for Belper is a tript to Retford on Saturday (21st)
The second team also managed a to complete a league and cup double over Buxton as two tries from Wayne Green saw Belper triumph 10-3.
Belper now have both the firsts and seconds in the final of the Derbyshire Cup at Chesterfield on May 4th.