Midlands 3 East (North)
Amber Valley 1st XV 30pts
Kesteven 1st XV 20pts
AMBER Valley finally got back to winning ways with a solid performance against Kesteven to relieve some of the pressure and move them up to ninth in the league.
With Valley slowly returning to closer to full strength with Ben Parker making his return along with Liam Dowdall in the back row, and other members of the squad due to return to full fitness over the next couple of weeks Valleys luck may be changing as they approach a key run of fixtures.
Valley started brightly with Lorenzo Tinari varying the play and Shaun Dowdall once again using the boot to keep the pressure on Kesteven.
Valleys strength in the set piece continued but with a bit more pace in the back row Valley also started with an edge in the loose, giving Tinari good ball to release Steemson and Dowdall in the centres.
It was Steemson who put the first points on the board, a supporting a great half break by Dowdall before crashing through a tackle and over the line, Dowdall converted to put Valley 7-0 up, and followed up with a well struck penalty a few minutes later after Kesteven were caught off-side.
Dowdall was on hand to score the next try, more good work from the pack creating a platform, Dean Chapman took ball up well and sucked in defenders, some good pick and drives created the space for Tinari to off-load beautifully to Dowdall who showed great pace to go over for a try.
Kesteven had a mini revival scoring a well worked backs move and followed up with a penalty of their own to bring them back into the game as half time approached, 17-10.
Valley came out of the blocks firing, and were soon on the scoreboard, John Redhead winning a penalty within Dowdalls range to put Valley ten points ahead but this was soon cancelled out by one for Kesteven to leave Valley with a seven-point cushion and hope for the visitors still remained.
The next 10 minutes was a bit of a forwards battle as the set piece reigned and Valley kept the ball tight to wear down their opponents. This worked to good effect with some profitable driving mauls and tight play to keep the pressure on Kesteven, but it looked like Valleys luck may turn as Keseteven continued to defend well and turn ball over at vital moments, showing some great character.
As the game opened up and Lee Chapman made his return for the backs off the bench against a tiring back line this added pace combined well with Tinari to eventually lead to two scores in quick sucession, one for Ben Parker and John Redhead respectively to put Valley into a commanding 30-13 lead.
Kesteven however set up for a tense finish in the final 10 minutes with another well worked try following a period of pressure to get within 10 points but Valley had the defence to hold on to the bonus point win and deny the visitors anything from the game.
Valley have a break from league action this weekend, as they take on Leesbrook in the Derbyshire Cup, a competition they would be looking to win.