Plenty of positives for Belper RUFC despite narrow loss

Belper RUFC performed well, despite falling to a loss against Cleethorpes.
Belper RUFC performed well, despite falling to a loss against Cleethorpes.

Belper fell to a narrow defeat at Cleethorpes in Midlands 4 East (North), as they went down 26-22.

Belper had to make several changes from last week’s win against Buxton, with Woodward coming in at prop, Wilmott to scrum-half, Innocent to centre and Scott coming in on the wing.

The visitors started brightly and scored with an opportunist try from Scott.

He picked up the loose ball and galloped in for the first points before Cleethorpes struck back 10 minutes later with a try of their own to level up proceedings.

Belper then enjoyed a good period of play and Tony England finished off a fine move with a simple pick-and-go to help Belper take the lead under the posts.

Stones added the extras and again converted a penalty shortly after to extend the lead to ten points.

Belper were soon camped in the opposition half again and Haines was unlucky not to score after being held up over the line.

This did lead to a scrum for which Belper pushed Cleethorpes over the line for Holmes to score.

The lead was now 17 points and Belper were looking good, but the home side scored right on half-time to reduce the arrears back to ten.

The second half started much tighter, with nothing really happening in the first 25 minutes.

Cleethorpes were always going to be a dangerous team and they soon struck back with a couple of quick tries, both coming via good work from their centre.

Belper then lost Matthews after he was shown yellow for tackling in the air, with no complaints from the offender.

Belper now had York and Blount on the field and the fresh legs were helping the visitors push towards the line.

The final few minutes was a tense affair, with a Cleethorpes player seeing yellow for a deliberate knock-on and Belper going over the line only for Blount to be adjudged as held up.

Cleethorpes stood firm and defended the scrum well to see out the victory.