Valley keep up the pressure at top

Steve Ashmore
Steve Ashmore

Second-placed Amber Valley RUFC 1sts travelled to bottom club Nottinghamians on Saturday and kept up the pressure on Midlands Four East (North) leaders Chesterfield Panthers with a 36-0 win.

In the opening few minutes, the home side threw everything they had at Valley but didn’t quite break through.

Valley kept the attackers at bay and were soon on the front foot. They purposefully moved the ball and were soon on the scoresheet. Jack Greasley in only his second start for the first team used his strength and powered over the line.

Nottinghamians were resolute in defence and moved the ball well to cause Valley some problems, but they couldn’t find the final pass and the visitors were able to keep them from any clearcut chances.

Valley’s second score came from a good break by Stewart Kirkup from a setpiece move, with Karl Bunting first taking the ball up close to the line and after a couple of pick and drives the ball was spread and Bunting, with men outside, chose to go for the line and luckily had the strength to go over. With difficult kicking conditions, Shaun Dowdall missed both conversions.

Valley came out in the second half and were soon on the scoresheet once more. Ben Parker dotted the ball down on the resulting penalty to put Valley 17-0 up.

Sam Wright scored the next try with a great supporting run to score under the posts. With a Dowdall conversion, the score was 24-0.

Valley scored their fifth try when Parker picked from the base of the scrum and beat the first defender. The ball was moved to Lee Chapman and then Dowdall. Good work again from the pack recycled and took the ball up to within a couple of metres, Chapman spotted Kirkup on the wing and a sharp flat pass gave Kirkup a simple run-in.

Nottinghamians were not going down without a fight and as the game drew to a close they were still looking to play rugby, moving the ball wide, but it was a dangerous game and the Valley full-back intercepted for a 70m run to the line. The coaching staff awarded Ben Parker the Keepsafe Security Man of the Match award for his non-stop tackling and hard work at the breakdown.

Valley have three games to go to snatch the championship from Chesterfield, who dropped a bonus point away at Cleethorpes and will continue fighting till the last.