Midlands Division 3 East (North)
Amber Valley 1st XV 12pts
Dronfield 1st XV 53pts
Another gritty display by Valley, with the pack again dominating the set piece, but the overall performance wasn’t good enough to overcome a decent Dronfield side.
Dronfield’s game plan was to try and batter their way through the midfield but this tactic failed to break down Valley’s defence for the opening 30 minutes as the centre partnership of Lee Steemson and Shaun Dowdall defended well. Karl Bunting was also superb off the back-row in cutting down Dronfield attacks off line-outs and scrums.
Although Dronfield dominated possession they didn’t look like crossing the whitewash in the early stages and it was only towards the end of the half that the visitors capitalised on some Valley mistakes to score tries. They were restricted to penalties and drop goal attempts to take a 14-0 lead as the half wore on.
It was not all one way traffic as Valley’s pack were able to create a platform to attack and force the visitors into giving away penalties, this was eventually rewarded with a try for Karl Bunting as he showed great hands to pick up a low pass and then power over the line from short range.
Rob Robbins, making a rare start at fly-half showed his class and strength with some great running and putting Valley on the front foot, but this was not to last as Robbins had to leave the field with a rib injury and forced Valley into more changes.
Dronfield tore away in the second half as they picked holes in the Valley defence. But the home side never let their heads drop and continued to battle away with the forwards especially dominating the set piece and three Dronfield tries were scored from their own 22 as Valley piled on the pressure to little avail.
Karl Bunting was awarded the Dominos of Alfreton man of the match for an excellent all round performance.
This Saturday Valley take on Uttoxeter in the second round of the RFI Midlands Vase at Pye Bridge, 3pm.