Derby City played their first competitive match in the Premier division at their home ground of Haslam’s Lane against last season’s division winners Telford Raiders.
After the previous outing against Sherwood Wolf Hunt combined with the performances from last season Derby quickly needed to establish themselves in this higher level and there would be no greater test than today’s opposition.
Unfortunately Telford were quick out of the starting blocks and before Derby knew anything about it they had conceded three early converted tries. A hot day already this was Derby’s worst nightmare, simply missed tackles and slow defence allowed the opposition to build up speed and angles. On the 20th minute during one of Derby’s rare foray into the Telford 20 metres Hooker Jon Doughty broke the defensive line to score with the conversion unfortunately missed by Reza Kashefi.
Telford continued their dominance with their loose forward Denham Samuels ghosting through weak tackles to score a double. In total the Raiders scored 7 tries with 6 converted in the first half. Half time Derby City 4 Telford Raiders 40.
The second half was a vast improvement for Derby. The players all rose to the challenge of locking up their defence and applying pressure to the attacking opposition. A team as good as Telford didn’t need any additional advantage!
Even with the home side improving they were still unable to combat the pace of the Telford Wingers and Fullback who strode around their opposite numbers to score. Telford scored two further converted tries within the first thirty minutes of the second half to lead 52 to 4. Doughty again broke the last two metres to score his second of the game to bring the scores to Derby City 8 Telford Raiders 52. Whilst not a massive comeback Derby were moving in the right direction!
Unfortunately even with the forwards attempting to break the Telford lines through very strong running from Andrew Castledine, Paul Crick and Tim Doyle Derby were not to be rewarded any further today. Telford scored an additional 20 points as Derby tired and a missed tackle generally resulted in a converted try.
Final score Derby City 8 Telford Raiders 72.
Overall not a game that reflected such a high deficit however probably in hindsight a short sharp lesson for the home side that even after last season’s success this season would need hard work, improved fitness along with discipline and communication.
Man of the match Andrew Castledine.