Club makes new friends
DEREHAM hosted touring side Rowntrees York at Moorgate on Saturday in a match played to the true spirit of friendly open rugby. With the first team having to honour a hastily rescheduled fixture at Dovercourt, Roy Head called on a few old friends to ensure Dereham had a competitive side.
DEREHAM hosted touring side Rowntrees York at Moorgate on Saturday in a match played to the true spirit of friendly open rugby.
With the first team having to honour a hastily rescheduled fixture at Dovercourt, Roy Head called on a few old friends to ensure Dereham had a competitive side.
George Pledger made a welcome return at full back, Gareth Drew guested from UEA in the centre and David Lewis made his first appearance for several months in the front row.
Rowntrees, with a playing squad of over 25, started with their more experienced line-up but found Dereham a bit too lively in the opening stages, going one score down with a Drew try from the 22 following pressure from the pack around the loose ball. Derbyshire added the conversion but Rowntrees were soon back on level terms when some poor tackling allowed Sully to scamper over from 15 yards.
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The wintry showers were holding off so Dereham made the most of the good handling conditions to move the ball wide on the right where the pace of the wing led to two tries scored in quick succession and a comfortable lead of 19-7.
Rowntrees responded by bringing on fresh players to beef up the pack and inject more pace into their back line. The home side continued to dominate the line-out with Chris Berry and Tom Edwards securing both their own ball and several turnovers, but the increased physicality of the tourists slowed down the phases, cut down the room for the backs, and brought them back into the game.
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Just after half-time Drew got his second after a quick ball from Derbyshire put him into space, then Rowntrees came back again, first with a move worked down the blind side of a set scrum, and again with a surging run from the No 8 to narrow the points difference to one score.
Pledger and Derbyshire cleared the Dereham lines into the wind and the pack worked the ball upfield through strong rucking by Spurgeon and heavy tackles from Craig Chester. Rowntrees were unable to prise the possession away and Dereham clung onto the lead to maintain local pride and a hard-fought win.
Both sides retired to the clubhouse where the two playing captains exchanged momentoes and led the celebrations.
Head said: “It's been a pleasure to have Rowntrees visit Dereham. It all came about after one phone call from an old friend, but now we've established firm links between our clubs and plan to meet again. It's good to see total strangers become friends in a day, which is what rugby at this club is all about.”