Midlands 3 East (North) Amber Valley 1st XV 17pts
Belper RFC 1st XV 20pts
Belper travelled to local rivals Amber Valley and completed a second league victory thanks to a late piece of briliance from Frank Watson.
Belper were again missing their captain and vice-captain but welcomed back Rob Yates, the powerful second row coming back into the side.
Having not played for four weeks it was good to get back to action on this frosty day.
Belper struck first with a penalty from Blount after only five minutes but the half never really got going.
Valley had the majority of possession and looked to try and use their weight in the scrum but the Belper front five held strong.
Excellent scrumaging from Haywood, Woodward, Emslie, Eddy Watson and Rob Yates saw the away side take no backward step.
Valley had the better of the chances but lacked some cutting edge, when chances were on they relied too much on crash ball and with Charlie Watson and Tom Mathews on the back row they snuffed out any danger. When a try looked on, the ever safe Joe Blackwell killed all attacks and was excellent under the high ball.
Good runs from York and Haywood were not capitalised on by Belper and they could not build on good field position.
Towards the end of the half Valley were reduced to 14 but then Belper were soon down to 13 losing Woodward and O’Gorman to silly offences.
Valley did manage to score on the stroke of half-time, when with a three-man overlap on, they again crashed in. This time though the forward managed to squeeze over the line and the hosts led 7-3 at the break.
The half-time talk from coach Barden was around soaking up the sin bin minutes and then raising the tempo of the game.
Belper were still at 13 while the home side were back to 15. Dyer replaced Haywood and Belper came out the blocks flying.
From a scrum on half-way, the Belper backs came to life with an excellent move. When the ball came to Blackwell he drew his man and set free Leon Griffiths who, with his chest out puffing, powered into the corner.
Simon Jones and Jack Blount took control of the game and kept putting Belper in better positions.
The black and whites were now the better side and could have taken more of a lead following three tough penalty kicks. Unfortunately they all faded to the right.
Following more Belper pressure the home side kicked a clearance which found Charlie Watson covering. He set of like a gazelle and saw young Richard Scott on the wing in space. He released an excellent pass and Scott pumped his legs to go in at the corner after 63 minutes.
Belper seemed to sit back at this point and allowed the home side back into the game. They scored a penalty after 68 minutes and this spurred them on.
Simon Carter was introduced to try and see out the game for Belper.
The home side took the lead with a catch and drive. They secured the ball well and drove over the Belper line to give them a four-point lead with only four minutes to go.
The visitors kicked off well and won the ball. Belper released their backs and then came a moment of brilliance from young Frank Watson. He side-stepped his opposite number before heading towards the pack and doing the same to them.
He ran clear and put the ball under the posts. This was converted and Belper saw out a much-deserved victory.
Belper’s next league game is on Saturday, January 28 when Ashby visit Strutts field.