Belper Rugby Club’s first team captain Callum Schofield believes they have beaten one of the division’s promotion contenders, after a 19-15 win over Kesteven on Saturday.
A batting performance from a much-changed Belper side saw them grind out a vital win in the Midlands 3 East (North) to move up to second in the table behind runaway leaders Nottingham Casuals.
And the skipper was proud of their efforts to get back to winning ways following a narrow defeat at Buxton the previous weekend - only their second loss of the season, having now won five of the seven played.
Schofield said: “This weekend saw us back at home against a very strong Kesteven team who will definitely be competing for promotion come the end of the season given the strength of their current squad.
“We had a lot of players missing so the boys coming in had a lot to prove and boy did they prove it! The game was an absolute nail biter and even though we defended for about 80 per cent of the game and had very little territory we managed to grind out a 19-15 win.
“Every player put their bodies on the line against a much bigger Kesteven team and left absolutely everything out on the field.
“As captain, you can’t really ask for anything more than this and I was incredibly proud of the boys when that final whistle blew, especially after such a tough loss the week before.”
Belper have seen off Sleaford, Spalding, Bakewell Mannerians and Tupton, as well as Kesteven, so far as they lead the chasing pack in hunting down unbeaten Nottingham Casuals.
“The last few weeks have been a real test of character for our first team,” said Schofield.
“Since the 64-0 thrashing of Bakewell on 6th October we have won two and lost one in the league. The first win was 30-12 away at local rivals Tupton.
“This was a really physical game and we did well not to get involved in a slog with them as it is a really tough place to go and play. We didn’t play incredibly well but the boys stuck it out and came away with a bonus point win.
“Following this we travelled to Buxton who have always been a bit of a bogey team for us and have a bit of a fortress going at their place, not losing there in quite a while. We started well scoring early, but unfortunately even though we were probably the better team for most of the game our inability to take scoring chances and our indiscipline cost us.
“We ended up losing out 13-10. This was a tough one to take, but losses like this will make us a stronger team moving forward.”
Meanwhile the club’s second team are also going well in the Security Plus Pennant Group 4 North, having won all four of their opening matches.
Schofield added: “They had a really tough friendly against a very strong Ilkeston side this weekend and unfortunately came away on the wrong end of the result.
“But this was a perfect game to prepare them for a return to league action at home against local rivals Matlock, where hopefully they can continue their good form and pick up a fifth league win on the bounce. They have picked a very strong side for this game and it is sure to be a cracker down at Strutts Field.”
The first team enjoy a weekend off before travelling to Mansfield on Saturday 17th November and hosting leaders Nottingham Casuals on Saturday 1st December.