Having suffered a heavy 56-0 defeat to the visiting Yorkshire Coast Titans just five weeks earlier, it was a confident side that travelled from Filey to Dunston Road expecting an easy win. However this was a much improved North Derbyshire Chargers side that nearly caused a cup upset with a 10-8 lead approaching half time.
The Chargers came under immediate pressure following a mistake from the Titans kick off, but resolute and scrambling defence kept out the willing attackers on the Chargers own try-line.
Both sides tried to find space in the coming sets of tackles, with Titans eventually finding an overlap on the left wing to gain a 4-0 advantage. It took until the half-way point in the first half for Chargers to level the score with prop Connor Barnard placing the ball down comfortably fending off the desperate attempts of three defenders. This score came off the back of a determined and organised offensive set of six tackles, the two tackles completed close to the line before hooker Corey Crummack was stopped short of the line after diving from dummy half. The following quick play-the-ball saw the ball in the arms of Barnard who refused to be prevented from scoring.
A smart cross-field kick allowed Titans to regain their lead around five minutes later, the conversion missed to give a slim 8-4 lead.
With five minutes left in the first half Chargers found space to move from their own half and a strong run from Man of the Match Ashley Dobb saw a neat ball to Gabe Ward, who stepped inside to outpace three Chargers defenders over forty metres, before scoring under the sticks for a level 8-all score. Nathan Kania added a simple conversion to give the Chargers an unexpected, but not undeserved, 10-8 lead over their opposition from the higher division in the Yorkshire Junior League.
The half ended in controversial circumstances with Titans scoring close to the left wing. Chargers defender, and Captain, Jacob Teasdale had apparently done enough to force his opponent into touch on the stroke of half time but from the floor the Titans attacker managed to discard the ball into the field of play fortunately finding a team-mate for an easy try to be placed down. The verdict of the close-by referee was that the player had thrown the ball back inside prior to going into touch, much to the disappointment of the Chargers players and supporters. The successful conversion gave Titans a 14-10 lead as the sides swapped ends.
The second half started with a determined approach from Chargers, finding good territory and making big yards from direct running and quick play the balls. Straight and aggressive runs from Cory Green, Lewis Brain, Dan Smith and Nathan Kania forced the visitors to whether an early storm as Chargers tried to find a way back into the match. However from two conceded penalties in the first ten minutes of the second half the experienced Titans side were able to extend their lead to 24-10 with two tries, one converted.
Chargers were not prepared to roll over though, and the try of the match followed with quick hands across the pitch putting Ward in for his second try of the match. From twenty metres out, sharp passing between Crummack, Dawson, Barnard and Dobb created space for Ward to stride in for a 24-14 deficit with twenty minutes remaining.
It took fifteen minutes for Titans to score again and extend their lead; however a seemingly harsh yellow card was issued to a Chargers defender in the build up to the score. With a Chargers player in the “sin bin,” Titans made their numerical advantage count with three tries whilst the Chargers were reduced to twelve players.
Still reduced to twelve players Dobb was able to gain a score for Chargers extending his run of try-scoring in four consecutive matches, although it was too late for a comeback with minutes remaining and a score of 18-34 against the home side.
Titans grabbed a late score to finish the tie off, and knock Chargers out in the first round on their debut in the Cup, with a final score of 38-18. Despite the score or early cup exit though, Chargers could take pride in their performance and discipline, as well as reflecting on a very different match and score line from five weeks earlier highlighting the swift development and progress of the Derbyshire juniors.