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Bakewell Mannerians v Belper | Saturday 25th January 2020 | Match Report

Bakewell Mannerians v Belper | Saturday 25th January 2020 | Match Report

Adam Holland28 Jan 2020 - 20:37
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Belper battle hard in a challenging away fixture at Bakewell, but are unable to take home any points as Bakewell outscore the visitors 4 tries to 1.

Belper travelled to Bakewell in round 14 of the league campaign looking to get back to winning ways after a home defeat to top of the table Ashby in round 13 last week.

There were some physical early exchanges between the two sides, with both packs carrying and tackling hard in an attempt to establish some early dominance. It was Bakewell who created the first opportunity of the game, running hard through the midfield off clean line-out ball, and breaking through the Belper defence. Several patient phases later, and Bakewell powered over from short range after several pick and go attempts, and the fly-half added the extras to take an early 7-0 lead after 5 minutes.

Not long after this early score for the home side, Bakewell were in possession around the halfway line, and deciding to throw it wide from a scrum the ball went to ground as a result of good Belper defensive pressure, and winger Revill jumped on the loose ball and accelerated away from the scrambling Bakewell defence from 35 meters out to register his 4th try of the season. Blount added the extras to take Belper level at 7-7 after 8 minutes of competitive rugby.

Belper struggled with set-piece in the early stages of the encounter, and as a result found it difficult to get any sort of a foothold in the game, giving possession away off lineouts. Allowing Bakewell to control the majority of possession and territory in the first 20 minutes.
This resulted in Belper conceding a penalty right in-front of their own posts inside the 22 metre line, which the Bakewell fly-half duly slotted over for three points to take the home side back in front, 10-7.

The away side started to enjoy a good amount of possession and territory themselves, and with a chip and chase from the the scrum-half Chalklin followed up by excellent kick-chase pressure, the Bakewell winger took the ball over into his own in-goal area for a Belper 5 meter scrum. A great opportunity presented itself of Belper to capitalise on this excellent field position. However, Bakewell’s scrum proved to be too powerful for the Belper pack, due to their obvious weight advantage. The ball was lost in the scrum and the opportunity had disappeared, nearly as quickly as it presented itself.

Belper continued to enjoy territory however, and were able to force a penalty inside the Bakewell 22 meter after some persistent infringements from the home side at the breakdown. Blount stepped up and cooly slotted the penalty to level up the scores once again, 10-10,after 23 minutes of play.

Bakewell scored again with 9 minutes remaining in the first half, talking them into a half-time lead of 17-10.

The home side dominated at scrum time for the majority of the first half, and this dominance continued into the second half, with a scrum on the Belper 5 meter-line early in the first few minutes of the second period. The Belper pack found themselves moving in the wrong direction towards their own try line, resulting in the referee running under the posts to award a penalty-try to the home side for an infringement from the Belper front-row. This score gave the hosts a comfortable 14 point cushion, 24-10.

In very similar fashion to the first half, Belper responded to this early score from Bakewell, and managed to create a sustained period of possession and territory, through some dynamic and aggressive ball carrying from the forwards. This response resulted in a ruck infringement from Bakewell in front of the posts, and Belper fly-half Blount needed no invitation to step up and slot the points. 52 minutes played and Belper has dragged the scoreline to within 11 points, 24-13

With 20 minutes left in the game, Belper began playing some extravagant rugby in an attempt to close the gap in the scoreline, and with some nice hands to work to ball wide into the 5 meter channel, a chip and chase was the chosen method of attack. However, the Bakewell full-back Tommy Bell was wise to this attempt, and gathered up the ball and ran at the disjointed Belper defence who were unstructured in transition, and subsequently galloped half the length of the pitch to dot down and give the away side a mountain to climb if they were to take anything from the game. It was now 29-13 to the home side with less than 20 minutes to play.

The last 15 minutes of the game were relatively uneventful, with the exception of some extra-curricular activity between the Bakewell scrum-half and Belper’s blindside flanker, that resulted in both players sitting out the last 10 minutes of the game in the sin-bin. Several stoppages and interventions from the referee caused the end of the game to drag somewhat, compounded by a few injuries, and as the light began to dwindle in the hilly Peak District of North Derbyshire, the referee brought a close to game with a sharp blast of the whistle, and Belper registered their second loss in succession, and the sixth of the season.

7 wins and 6 losses in the league campaign now for Belper after 14 rounds, with one postponed fixture away at Southwell to be played in two weeks time. But first, next week sees Belper host the newly demoted Nottinghamshire outfit at Strutt’s Playing Field, in Round 15 of the league campaign, with a victory needed to retain a positive win ratio and allow them to start looking up the table, rather than down.

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