Classic game of two halves

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Notts Pennant League Group 3

Dronfield 2nds 41

Bakewell Mannerians 2nds 27

For Bakewell, the first half of this league fixture was a dream.

The painful memory of last season’s thrashing at Gosforth Fields soon resurfaced, as Dronfield kicked to the corner and their left winger scored after just two minutes.

Bakewell responded as No 10 John Pierce intercepted and raced 50 metres to level.

With no subs on the bench, Bakewell were reduced to 14 men when they lost centre Cowans with a hamstring injury ten minutes into the game.

And yet Bakewell easily dominated the next 30 minutes, after being awarded a penalty on their 22.

The ensuing lineout saw Loxley take the ball right off the top, and deliver it in one smooth movement into the hands of scrum half Keetley.

Without hesitation, the ball was in the hands of Tom Crapper, who carved his way through from 40 metres for the try. Keetley converted.

A real-time action replay of this exquisite move was repeated on 20 minutes, to put Bakewell 19-5 ahead.

Keetley then added another three points with a 35-metre penalty.

Dronfield’s pack fought back. They had a considerable weight advantage, and were edging proceedings in the tight.

Crash and bash brought the home team a try on 35 minutes, but Bakewell finished the half in fine style.

With captain O’Neil throwing the ball with pinpoint accuracy at the lineout, man of the match Loxley continued his imperious aerial display.

Keetley simply had to hold out his hands, and the ball appeared like the conjuror’s half crown.

Bakewell set up a ruck outside their 22, Keetley took on the ball, outpaced the defence, and made a full 60 metres for the try, to give Bakewell’s 14 men a 27-10.

But it all went wrong in the second half. Dronfield’s players had been dropping like flies but they had strength on the bench. Their subs were even bigger and heavier, and Bakewell would rather forget the next 40 minutes.

Their forwards tired, and Dronfield used the wind to pin back their opponents, and the ruck and maul to progress towards Bakewell’s goal line. They muscled their way to five tries in the process.

Bakewell’s next Pennant League match is at home to Ashbourne on October 1.

n Mannerians 1sts continued their impressive start to the Midlands Two East (North) season with an 18-15 win against Belgrave on Saturday.

On the scoresheet were Tom Oldfield and Dave Boam with tries, plus Will Moroney with a conversion and two penalties.

This weekend, Mannerians are in National Cup 1st round at Oadby Wyggestonians.