Having suffered a heavy defeat last week and conceding an early try to their Doncaster hosts, the travelling Chargers supporters may have feared the worst in this Yorkshire League match. However the Derbyshire side were not in the mood to just roll over, and their mix of attacking flair with a gritty and disciplined defensive effort was to earn Chargers their first win of the season.
Bentley struck first with their pacey winger scoring from a set-play after just five minutes, but with a missed conversion the Chargers were able to level the score with thirteen minutes gone. A patient build up had seen them halted short of the line, but quick thinking from Pat Shaw at dummy half allowed him to dive under the sticks from two yards out, Shaw claiming the first try of the season for the Chargers. The impressive half back Rogan Cooper added the extras earning a slim 6-4 lead. This was the first pairing of half backs Cooper and Curt Williams, which showed positive signs and speedy movement throughout the match.
Strong pressure around the twenty minute mark led to an error from the hosts’ full back, from the resulting drop out the away side were able to move the ball wide to the left with quick hands leading to Gabe Ward placing the ball down one-handed to extend the lead to 10-4. Cooper went close but missed with the conversion, and it appeared the half would finish with the score the same.
Bentley though had other ideas and a smart cross-field kick along the ground allowed their left winger to dive on the ball bringing the score to 10-8. With the conversion missed once more, the game was evenly poised with Chargers holding a slim two point as the teams swapped ends.
The second half started positively with an early try to the Chargers. Man of the Match Ashley Dobb found a gap on the half way line, and after beating four defenders was able to score the Chargers third try of the game under the sticks. Cooper was able to extend the lead by adding a straight-forward conversion, taking the score to 16-8 with two minutes gone in the second half.
What followed for the remainder of the game was a resolute and organised defensive display from the Chargers. When Bentley tried to move the ball wide they were only able to find the tenacious Chargers wing duo of Gabe Ward and Corey Crummack, the latter taking his opposite number into touch one on one to protect the try line and protect the team’s 8-point lead with just minutes remaining in the game. This was not a game for the faint-hearted and Chargers were in no mood to let their lead slip; dominant tackling and hard running from Ross Walters, Nathan Kania, Alex Parks and debutant Dan Smith kept the Bentley attackers at bay, and in possession tough drives from props Lewis Brain and Cory Green gained valuable ground time after time.
Chargers may not have completed every set perfectly and put themselves under pressure on several occasions, they were not prepared to give up the points today highlighted by the enthusiasm and steel shown by Jarman Langton, Joe Keightley, Sam Dawson and Jacob Teasdale.
Thanks to Richard Crummack for the match report and NFS Photography for the match day photos which can be viewed in this gallery.