Chesterfield Panthers dominate derby with Amber Valley

Chesterfield panthers v Amber valley. NDET/NRHN 10-10-14 Rugby, Christopher Windle (Chesterfield) scoring try (14)
Chesterfield panthers v Amber valley. NDET/NRHN 10-10-14 Rugby, Christopher Windle (Chesterfield) scoring try (14)

Chesterfield Panthers had a score settle when rivals Amber Valley visited Dunston Road.

The two sides, separated by less than 20 miles, were locked in a battle for the Midlands Division Four East (North) title last season, with Panthers finally being crowned champions.

Amber Valley achieved promotion too and were the only team to defeat Chesterfield during their match towards the title, tainting an otherwise spotless league campaign for the Panthers.

It left a bitter taste in the mouths of Chesterfield and was one they were keen to wash out when the two teams met on Saturday in what turned out to be a thrilling derby contest.

Panthers captain Chris Ward won the toss and opted to play with the breeze in the first-half, looking to make Amber Valley chase from the off, as his side raced in to an early lead.

Within five minutes Chesterfield had the score when they worked the ball inside the opponents 22, allowing Luke Holt to bulldoze over close to the posts. Ward added the extras.

Panthers immediately moved forward once again from the restart through tidy work at the breakdown from scrum-half Eric Wright, linking well with the forwards, to work through the phases.

They marched once again into the 22. A quick ball down the back line this time put Tye Rose in the corner for Panthers second try, Ward added a tricky conversion for his second.

Chesterfield were in full flow but Amber Valley were in no mood for a drubbing against one of their nearest rivals. Strong defensive work halted several promising Panthers attacks.

Though discipline ultimately favoured Chesterfield as a string of penalties allowed Panthers to progress and Holt once again smashed his way over for a second. Ward with three from three.

Panthers had a commanding 21-0 lead at the break but, unwilling to allow complacency to set in, coach Derrick Sherlock instructed his side to increase the tempo to see the game out.

They had to weather an early storm with Amber Valley putting penalties in to the corner, only for Chris Windle, Paul Jones and Steve Allen responding with outstanding tackles.

After clearing their lines Chesterfield marched the full length of the pitch, Ward and Wright instrumental before Windle was on hand to break through several tackles to score under the posts.

Ward continued to demonstrate a calm head with his kicks and it didn’t take long for Panthers to stretch their lead once more when Jordan Grayson went over under the sticks. Conversion added.

Chesterfield looked to open up their legs and strong running from Jamie Barnett through the heart of the defence led to a well-taken try by Ward, who was also able to convert his own score.

A magnificent seventh try came from centre Nick Fenton before Holt crashed over for a third time for his hat-trick from a quick tap penalty. Ward smacking the posts with his conversion attempts.

Panthers were dominant from the first whistle to the last and deservedly thrilled with an open and flowing game of rugby with the hosts taking all five important points.

FT: Chesterfield Panthers 52 Amber Valley 0.

Panthers: Jones, Davidson, Allen, Barnett, Shaw, Brailsford, Windle, Holt, Wright, Ward (c), Fenton, Bunting, Grayson, Rose, Grayson. Subs: Titley, Teagle.

Tries: Luke Holt (3), Nick Fenton, Jordan Grayson, Chris Windle, Chris Ward. Conversions: Chris Ward (6).