It was not to be third time lucky for Dronfield in their 3rd league game of the season as they scored five tries but still came out on the wrong end of the scoreline as Ashbourne matched them in the try count but with a couple of extras kicks to edge the win. Not a wasted trip for Dronfield though as they secured 2 valuable league points with losing and try bonus points making it as good as draw, to get them off the bottom of Midlands 2 East (north).
Ashbourne away has been a lean hunting ground for Dronfield in past seasons, so a hard game was expected today.
Things didn't start too well with a penalty conceded. 3-0
A second was added by Ashbourne on 14 minutes 6-0
On 17 minutes good play by Dronfield enabled number 8 Chris Hale to break through the middle and Dronfield controlled the ball well and it was fed through to winger Pat Selkirk who ran it into the corner for the game's first try. A superb conversion from out wide by full back Joe Farrell followed to take Dronfield in front. 6-7
Dronfield lost talented fly half Alex Arch, who succumbed to an ankle injury.
On 25 minutes Dronfield opted for a scrum instead of a 22 dropout. It worked out well with scrum half Jake Steade picking a line through the middle and unloading to centre James Marshall who ran all the way in to score. 6-14
On 35 minutes Dronfield failed to clear their lines and the resultant turnover ball enabled Ashbourne to score their first try. 13-14
Just before the break there was a yellow card for one of the Ashbourne forwards and Joe Farrell safely slotted the resultant penalty. 13-17
HALF TIME 13-17
On 10 minutes Dronfield pressed hard to increase the lead, with the whole team working the Ashbourne line with prop Mike Wetherill and winger Pat Selkirk making decisive breaks. Eventually the gap opened up on the left with flanker Hugo Ross taking it in, and a good pass to lock Nige Westerman who ran it over the line. 13-22
The game was not won yet though and Ashbourne came back and put the Dronfield line under immense pressure. Big hits by Charlie Taylor, Nige Westerman and Mike Wetherill kept them out for a while but the momentum was with home team. Ashbourne suddenly gained the upperhand in the scrum and they exploited it well giving them a series of penalties, scoring a try with a yellow card also for Captain Hugo Ross. 20-22
The Ashbourne pressure continued and while Dronfield defended well eventually the extra man counted and Ashbourne took the lead with another try. 25-22
Dronfield did not fold though and attacked again with Joe Farrell showing great determination to force his way through for a try enabling Dronfield to re-take the lead. 25-27
A penalty for a high tackle enabled Ashbourne to re-take the lead 28-27
They rubbed salt into the wounds further when a harmless looking short chip kick was not dealt with and completely opened upthe Dronfield defence. 35-27
Dronfield scored again next from a penalty. 35-30
It all looked to be over when Dronfield kicked away hard fought for possession and conceded another try. 42-30
Never say die Dronfield again pressed hard in the final seconds and secured a well deserved losing bonus point after they pressed the line hard with Hugo scoring the try. 42-37
On the plus side Dronfield scored 5 tries, and on the minus side they conceded 5 tries! Plenty for coaches Sean and Colin to work on before next weeks home game against Ashby.
Quilter Kids First Champions winner – November: Hinckley RFC