Defeated but Belper find spirit

Midlands 3 East (North)

Lincon 1st XV 43pts

Belper RFC 1st XV 21pts

BELPER’S last league away trip of 2011 saw them visit Lincoln on a wet, cold december afternoon,

And, with the Lincoln Christmas market in full swing, it seemed Belper players had popped off shopping leaving Lincoln to score seven unanswered first half tries before time.

Whether it was the weather, or the heavy legs from the long drive, Belper had no answer to the home side’s strength up front with three of their tries coming from push over tries.

So the half-time score read 43-0 to Lincoln and Belper appeared to be on the way to their biggest defeat in several seasons.

Coach Boyd stepped onto the field to give the team a rousing speech which seemed to turn things completely around.

Belper changed things slightly with Hayward moving to fly-half and it was his industry which lead to the first try of the second half.

The forwards won the ball well with Nicholson using all his strength to drive off two of the opposition following him throwing himself at the feet of a clearing kick, taking the boot straight to his face then pouncing onto the loose ball to get up and drive on.

York supported and drove on the ball spun wide from the ruck to Hayward who stepped through a gap then sprinted 40 yards chipping and catching his own kick, as he ran into the home side’s 22 he then somehow changed direction in mid air causing the full-back to be completely wrong-footed as Watson switched behind Hayward taking the ball and running in under the posts to score under the sticks.

Blount converted for 43-7 and they had their tales up.

Indeed, they should have had three more tries as York knocked on twice when he seemed certain to score on the wing and Green should have scored but the referee adjudged the ball held up.

Minutes later the evergreen Blackwell - enjoying his 35th birthday - scored a wonderful pick and go try following a scrummage ten yards out.

Blackwell sniped dashing over under the posts and Blount converted.

Belper were again guilty of missing chances as Richard Watson and Neil Wayne both dropped passes with the try line at their mercy.

However, Belper did manage one last try when Bryan O’Gorman looked like he was running on tarmac as tacklers ran in treacle as he sprinted the length of the field after catching a clearing kick under his own posts to score with great pace and tenacity

Belper will look back at this game and think of what could have been but it was good to see the heart shown in the second half.