With a slightly waterlogged pitch and bitterly cold conditions, credit must go to both squads who gave the watching supporters a cracking game to feast their eyes on.
Stoke kicked off and Derby were dominant for the first ten minutes of the game.
Stoke could not get hold of the ball and Derby were looking a really classy outfit in difficult conditions. The Stoke faithful must have been worried after this opening and they had their fears confirmed when more great handling and a strong break by the Derby openside flanker broke through the Stoke defence, and despite Beinn Yule
holding onto his shirt, the Derby youngster dragged Beinn over the line and scored a good try under the posts. The conversion was good and it was Stoke 0 Derby 7 after 11 minutes of play.
This score seemed to galvanise the Stoke lads and after making tackles for a solid 11 minutes they started to move the ball around. This made a huge difference to the dynamics of the match and within 3 minutes Stoke scored a good try with Oliver Heath
touching down in the right hand corner. The difficult conversion was missed.
From the Derby restart, with their forwards on the right hand side of the pitch, the ball was kicked left.
had to make several yards to meet the ball but gather it he did, and at full pace. He broke through the defence and set off on what can only be described as a gallop to the line. With Derby players tracking him, Sam made it to the line to score an outstanding solo effort. Sam is becoming something of a talisman to the team and his future is very bright indeed.
put over the conversion to make it Stoke 12 Derby 7 and the boys now had their tails up.
The Stoke forwards were competing well and the match was evenly balanced with both sides going hard at each Other
. Good defence and continuity was seen and the play was making up for the horrible conditions for players and supporters alike.
After 21 minutes of the game another strong drive and several phases of pick and drive forward play by Stoke, the ball was recycled close to the line for Alex Adams-Waite
to pick up and ground the ball over the try line.
The conversion was missed as the wind picked up.
The half-time whistle was blown with the score Stoke 17 Derby 7.
Both teams had given their all in the first half in quite awful conditions.
The second half started with a Derby kick off and the game continued to be an even one.
After 7 minutes of the half a high tackle was penalised, and with the ball in front of the posts, Jake Elliot
took the 3 points.
Stoke handling was good and 13 minutes into the half Charlie Connor
got on to the score sheet after a set move from a scrum was called.
was successful with the conversion.
There was still time for Stoke to round off the scoring when another strong run by Charlie Connor
resulted in another try, which was again converted by Jake Elliot
The final score of Stoke 34 Derby 7 doesn't flatter Derby as they deserved far more from the game. Their continuity and all round play was excellent. All Stoke players played well and bounced back from the disappointment of last week.
As coaches we are really proud of the boys and the way the squad is developing. There is real competition for places and next week will see the challenge that is Manchester: one of the best teams we have come across.
Early to bed next Saturday boys!