Amber Valley RUFC came away with a bonus point 24-19 win in a top of the table clash with Chesterfield Panthers on Saturday to extend their lead at the top of the Midlands Four East (North) to five points.
With a strong wind heading straight down the pitch it was always going to be a game where each side would dominate its respective half.
With Valley playing with the winds at their back they kept Chesterfield pinned back and opened the scoring with the first real attack of the game, Karl Bunting scoring from a catch and drive.
For the second score, Valley forced Chesterfield onto the back foot and they were forced into giving away a string of penalties. Valley kicked to the corner but this time moved the ball for Shaun Dowdall to power over for a converted try.
It was not always one-way traffic, but the home side never threatened to score. The final score of the half came as Valley again used the wind to their advantage and another catch and drive, this time to Leadbeater at the front, set the maul and the ball was well driven over. Ben Parker was the man to touch the ball down. Dowdall again converted to put Valley into a 19-0 lead.
Chesterfield finally started to play like an unbeaten team and put some phases of play together to relieve the pressure.
The home side, as expected, had Valley under pressure for much of the second half. Chesterfield took a leaf out of Valley’s book with some well taken catch and drives which Valley did well to defend, but as the half wore on they had conceded two tries to leave the game finely balanced heading into the final quarter.
Valley’s defence on the whole held firm and scrambled well enough to keep Chesterfield at bay as they defended their 22 for much of the half, a testament to the improved fitness and teamwork that has been instilled at training. With six minutes left on the clock, Chesterfield equalised with a converted try under the posts.
This seemed to galvanise the visitors with a re-invigorated pack, taking advantage of a tiring Chesterfield side to force a series of penalties.
Valley picked themselves back up and, with the last play of the game, spun the ball wide.
Richard doxey, only just on the pitch as a replacement, took the ball up to within 15 metres. Recycling the ball quickly, Valley moved it wide to Duran Wardale, who timed the pass perfectly to Stewart Kirkup and he slid into the corner to leave Chesterfield with only a losing bonus point.
In a match that could have gone either way, Valley showed composure when it mattered. The Man of the Match was Ben Parker.
This Saturday, are at home to Cleethorpes, in a match starting at 3pm.