Midlands 3 East (North)
Grimsby 1st XV 26pts
Belper RFC 1st XV 24pts
BELPER travelled to high flying Grimsby knowing and expecting a tough game.
Belper again had to shuffle the pack but welcomed back young Jack Hibbard to the starting 15 for his first start of the season after injury.
The away side started the brighter and were ahead after only three minutes.
A brilliant individual try from vice-captain James Naylor put Belper ahead. He caught a clearing kick from the home side just inside the Grimsby half. He then put the ball back into the air and managed to catch his own kick, beating the full back in the process and going over the line. Simon Jones then added the extras.
This sparked the home side into life and they came racing out the blocks.
They struck back with a well taken penalty and took the lead moments later with a try of their own.
Belper were by no means hanging back and always looked dangerous on the break.
Jack Blount was unlucky not to go over the line himself after a brilliant interception.
The line just seemed a little too far and the defence scrambled to stop him going over.
Blount had moved to inside centre for this fixture and proved what a tough tackler he is as the Grimsby attack seemed to keep coming at him to no avail.
Grimsby added another two penalties before Simon Jones hit back with a penalty for Belper and half-time came with the score at 16-10.
The second half started with early pressure on the away side but no score for the first 18 minutes.
Belper then took the lead again after trying to make use of quick ball and at this stage Grimsby were lucky to keep all there players on the pitch with constant infringements at the break down.
The ball was taken on quickly by Tony England who fell just short of the line but a quick pick up from Greg Rice saw him go over the line. Jones added the conversion.
Belper could not make the most of the advantage and again the home side scored a try of their own and followed this up by a penalty.
The brilliant thing about this Belper side is they never give up and never know where they are beaten.
Yorke, Holmes and Dyer urged the forwards on, and with the ever dangerous Naylor, Belper thought they could get something from the long trip.
The replacements at half time also made an impact and Tom Shea managed to cover every blade of grass from his not so common place on the back row.
Belper then scored with only a few minutes to go. Good hands from the backs saw the ball go to young Hibbard who still had plenty to do.
He stepped several defenders and raced under the posts for an excellent try.
This was converted and with seconds of the game remaining Belper had a chance to steal the win.
A tough penalty kick just saw the wrong side of the posts and a win to the home side it was.
On reflection, the home side played the better rugby but you can never keep this Belper side down and they fight for everything they can.
A mention goes to the match referee who was outstanding in his control of the game.
This Saturday, it is back to fortress Belper at the Strutts and a tough home game against Kesteven (2.15pm).