Back To Winning Ways
By Jim Wright
U15s End 2018 with A Bang!
A welcome late invitation from Ilkeston saw Chesterfield Panthers visit The Gallows playing fields, however it was the home side who were hung out to dry!
The first 5 minutes saw both sides trading blows in the middle third of the field with no overall advantage before Ilkeston then exploited a gap in Chesterfield's defensive line. Their Centre broke clear and evaded the cover defence to run in from some 40 metres out for the first score of the game.
Panthers didn't let this affect them though, keeping their heads up and continuing with a physically dominant performance. Strong scrummaging and commitment at the breakdown from all the forwards combined with good defensive line speed from the three quarters put Ilkeston on the back foot. The pressure resulted in a penalty which was kicked to the 5 metre line by Ed Bygrave and the resulting lineout saw Sam Wass barrel over from close range.
Ilkeston then rallied but could not gain any territory into the Panther's half. Conversely Panther's continued to exert pressure with excellent ball carrying particularly from Harvey Sturman, Joe Lea and Jake Wright all getting over the gain line. Great support lines put Panthers firmly on the front foot which allowed the back line to showcase their talent with Ed Bygrave, Ben Carley and Max Woolgar-Norton, today playing at outside Centre, all making clear line breaks.
A speculative kick through from Ed Bygrave looked like it was heading over the dead ball line but somehow rebounded off the post protector. Good follow up work from the forwards finally saw Harvey Sturman cross the whitewash and gave Ed Bygrave an easy conversion.
Panthers were still not done. Despite some good individual tackling and strong maul defence from Ilkeston further pressure saw them carry the ball over their own try line resulting in a five metre scrum. With plenty of room on the blind side to work with Harvery Sturman collected the ball at No.8 and then showed his brutal strength to score his second try of the half.
With the half time score at 5 -17 Ilkeston's spirit was badly dented. Despite their best efforts they could not contain Panther's forward power. This allowed the Panther's back line to cut loose, with play being dictated by Will Bygrave from the scrum half position. With holes opening up in the Ilkeston defensive line he showed his guile and sheer pace, bagging a brace or tries himself.
Icing was added to the cake by Ben Carley who completed his Man of the Match performance, showing his electrifying pace to score two further tries to add to his trademark bone crunching tackling throughout the game. Two further conversion out of the four attempts were added by Ed Bygrave.
Panthers finally lived up to their potential with a complete, all round team performance leaving the final score standing at Ilkeston 5, Chesterfield Panthers 41