Notts Pennant League Group 3
Bakewell Mannerians 2nds 17
Belper 2nds 40 pts
There is no doubt Belper deserved to win this encounter as they created more scoring chances – and took them.
They matched most things Bakewell had to offer, and exploited Bakewell’s weaknesses.
Belper started the stronger of the two sides and put Bakewell on the back foot. Bakewell’s forwards matched Belper in the tight, and their front row edged the strikes against the head.
For Bakewell, Paul Boon secured some clean lineout ball, and Bakewell’s defence stood firm until Belper worked an overlap down the right after 20 minutes, to register the first score. A well-struck Keetley penalty on the half-hour kept Bakewell in touch, but Belper replied with another try.
Mannerians made progress and Bell secured ruck ball deep into the visitors half. The ball was fed out and deft interplay by the backs saw Ashton cut through to score beneath the posts. Keetley converted, and the half-time score of 14-10 was a fair reflection of the give and take of the first half.
Belper brought on fresh legs at half-time, a luxury Bakewell could not provide, although their team was a reasonably balanced unit, certainly in the pack, and in central midfield, where Tom Armstrong and Alex Ashton were outstanding.
Evergreen Nick Marriott exceeded expectations, stepping in at the last minute at flanker. Hooker Driscoll was accurate at the lineouts, and full of pace and enterprise, Duckham assured at full back, and newcomer Ben Woods had an excellent debut.
However, Belper tied in Bakewell round the base of the scrum, and starved their midfield of possession. This was highlighted midway through the second half, when a sublime feed from Keetley at 10, put Ashton, Bakewell’s man of the match, on a devastating angle for him to scorch through untouched for the try. Keetley converted.
The second half was otherwise forgettable from Bakewell’s point of view. A Belper kick to the corner was not well defended, to concede a try six minutes in. An attempt to run the ball out of defence resulted in a turnover, and another try was conceded.
Belper’s big forwards provided adequate possession for them throughout the half, and their use of the wind on their backs was much better than the home side, so that Bakewell were frequently on the defensive and Belper added two further tries.
This Saturday, Bakewell are away to a Notts Medical School side, to be played at Rolls-Royce Rugby Club in Derby.
n Bakewell Mannerians 1sts went down 27-21 to hosts Nottingham Moderns on Saturday in the NLD Shield.
This Saturday, they are at home to West Bridgford (3pm start).