Potential From Aspiring Panthers
By Ryan Hanes
Chesterfield Panthers hosted promotion chasing Cleethorpes on another cold, blustery Saturday afternoon at Dunston Road.
With the corresponding fixture earlier in the season being a comfortable win for the seasiders the Panthers knew they would be in for a battle.
Right from the off it was clear to see this was going to be a physical affair with Chesterfield's pack taking it to Cleethorpes, strong runs from Julian Ord, Lee Laughton and Alex Hughes softening the defences. Unfortunately, despite piling on all the pressure, it was Cleethorpes that struck first, a handling error led to turn over ball and the yellow and blue backline showed the Panthers why they sit second in the table with a well taken counter attack try.
The try did little to dampen spirits with Chesterfield still dominating possession and although not capitalising with any five pointers, Panthers managed a superb 40m penalty from young fly half Tom O'Brien.
From the next restart Cleethorpes firmly camped themselves in the Panthers 22 and pressure would eventually tell, with a strong run that saw them go under the posts for a seven point score.
In times gone this could have been the moment that broke the Panthers but the red and white hoops are made from stronger stuff these days, exemplified by a never say die attitude from young players Jaydon Slatcher and Jack Burton, constantly taking it to the opposition.
Still dominating possession and territory, the Panther's backline finally made a break through with a fantastic inside line from try scorer Glenn Grayson, linking up and taking a pass from centre Scott Widdowson.
The second half saw much of the same, with Chesterfield dominating the ball without taking advantage on the score board. Pressure did pay off at the 70 minute mark with a bullish run from tighthead Julian Ord taking him over the line. Full time ending 18-27.
Although this is not the result this team hoped for, they did themselves proud against a very good team. You can clearly see the improvements in performance and with the average age of the team struggling to get served at the bar there is obvious potential to be fulfilled in the years to come.
Report written by Lee Whitmore